ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond baseball team scored all six of its runs in the first two innings, but that was all it needed to grab a 6-2 victory over Anson in its season opener Friday evening.
Senior shorstop Drew Loving crossed home plate twice while Tyler Bass, Justin Ingram, Jonathan Lee and Jake Ransom each scored one run a piece. Loving was also responsible for one of the team’s six hits on the night.
After junior pitcher Trey Watkins made quick work of the Bearcats’ first three batters, the Raiders took the plate and showed how eager they were to get the season started.
Both Lee and Loving recorded singles and then stole second base as the pitch was leaving the hands of Anson starting pitcher Jamie Thomas, who ended up walking Gordon Pihl — Richmond’s third batter — and loading the bases. Thomas walked Ransom on the next at-bat and Lee made his way home in order to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
Watkins stepped up to the plate and was hit by Thomas’ pitch on the first toss, which brought home Loving, and was then tagged out at second after Cam Carraway made contact with the ball. While that was going on, however, Bass — who base ran for Pihl — raced home from third base for his only run of the night.
The Raiders’ fourth and last run of the first inning, scored by Ransom, was the result of senior Zack Hinson’s sacrifice fly.
Anson’s A.D. McRae was walked at the top of the second, but the Bearcats couldn’t make anything of it. Thomas struck out, Charlie Wallace’s fly ball was caught and A.J. Harrington groundout. Watkins earned three of his four strikeouts in the first two innings.
Richmond (1-0) caught a break when Justin Ingram’s ball was dropped in the outfield and he was able to make it to second base to start the bottom of the second. Alex Anderson would follow that with a single, moving Ingram to third base, but he was caught on his way back to first — the latter part of a double play — after Lee’s pop fly was caught in right field.
Ingram would score from third, though, and the Raiders took an early 5-0 lead. Two bats, later, Pihl’s RBI single brought in Loving — who stole second and third after being walked. Ransom’s fly ball closed the inning.
Neither team had much going over the next few innings until Anson’s Wesley Lear blasted a two-run homer, with two outs, at the top of the sixth to bring the score to 6-2. Grayson Preslar had made it to third base after a dropped ball and a balk from Carraway on the mound.
It took Grant three more batters to close the inning, but he got the job done by forcing a groundout.
For the Raiders, Watkins struck out four batters and walked one while giving up no runs and no hits in four innings of pitching. Carraway took over in the fifth and sixth innings and allowed two runs on two hits, earning four strikeouts. Senior Drew Grant struck out one batter and gave up a hit in the seventh.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.