Owls drop home decision to Gastonia
If the slow start didn’t hurt the Forest City Owls, Gastonia starting pitcher Jared Cheek sure did.
The University of Georgia product pitched six innings, striking out 12 to pace the Grizzlies to a 10-6 win over Forest City Thursday night at McNair Field.
Gastonia used a four-run fourth to break a deadlocked game.
The Owls trailed going into the bottom of the third until Danny Sheehan led off with a single to left field. Hunter Bryant followed up with a signal to center putting runners at first and second.
Devin Wenzel hit a sacrifice to the pitcher moving Sheehan to third and Bryant to second.
Sheehan tied the game 3-3 after a sacrifice by Joey Hawkins.
But, the Grizzlies struck in the top of the fourth when third baseman Philip Perry took the first pitch from Owls’ starter Matt Smith over the right field fence.
Ronald Thompson came up with one out and singled to right field but moved to second on an error by Smith.
Gardner-Webb product Henry Rundio reached on a fielder’s choice which allowed Thompson to score and moved lead-off batter Zach Daly to third after he drew a walk.
After Rundio stole second, Chris Robinson flied out to left, scoring Daly.
Mitch Warner came in relieve with Rundio at second. Rundio promptly stole third and Weston Lawing was hit by a pitch. But, Anthony Dimino grounded out to end the inning. After it was all done, Gastonia had four runs on two hits with one Forest City error to take a 7-3 lead.
The Owls were unable to respond in the bottom half of the inning before the Grizzlies tacked on three more runs in the top of the fifth.
Earlier, Bryant sparked the Owls in the first with a double to center field that scored Sheehan tying the game 1-1.
Gastonia added two runs in the top of the second after Perry doubled to right scoring Jacob Heyward. Perry scored later in the inning on an error by Forest City shortstop Joey Hawkins.
Smith went 3 2/3 innings giving up four runs on six hits while striking out two.
The Owls added three runs in the seventh with consecutive singles to lead off the inning from Zach Cerbo, Derek Hannahs and Steven Pallares. The latter single scored Cerbo. Sheehan singled to load the bases before a wild pitch scored Hannahs and an sacrifice fly from Bryant plated Pallares.
Forest City will travel to Gastonia for a double-header beginning at 8 p.m. Friday. They will return home for a 7:30 p.m. contest with Thomasville-High Point.