Just a day after dropping a baseball game to the Edmonson County Wildcats for the first time in nine seasons, the Cougars came back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Wildcats 5-3 Tuesday afternoon at Don Lee Field.
Senior left-hander Gage Akridge relieved starter Riley Mudd in the third inning and threw five innings of scoreless baseball to pick up the win. Akridge allowed just two hits and struck out nine. He walked two and hit a batter.
Mudd pitched the first two innings, giving up all three Wildcat runs, on four hits. He walked one and struck out three.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead, scoring twice in the top of the first inning. With one out, starting and losing pitcher, Walker Hazel singled and moved to second on a wild pitch.
Logan Lindsey followed by hitting a ground ball in the hole between first and second. When Cougar second-baseman Landon Nichols had the ball get away from him, Hazel scored and Lindsey was safe at first.
Lindsey stole second base, then scored on a single by designated hitter Dylan Waldrop to make it 2-0.
The Wildcats added another run in the second inning after two were out. Matthew Jaggers walked and moved to second on a single by Shawn Winchester. When Hazel followed with a single to right, Jaggers scored to make it 3-0 and Winchester moved to third. Mudd then struck out Lindsey to end the inning.
The Cougar began their comeback with a run in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Hunter Shiarella singled to right, the first of three hits on the day for the Cougar third baseman. Right-fielder Braxton Hodges, who also had three hits on the day, singled to left. When the ball was bobbled by Jaggers in left, the runners advanced to second and third.
A Wild pitch brought Shiarella home with the Cougars’ first run and left Hodges at third with just one out, but Hazel retired Mudd on pop-up and later got Chandler England to ground out to end the inning.
Grayson County added another run in the fourth inning. Shiarella singled with one out and went to second on a Hodges single to right. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch, and Shiarella scored on a sacrifice fly by Mudd to make it 3-2. Hazel got out of the inning by inducing Akridge to fly out.
The Wildcats loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning against Akridge, but he got Lindsey to ground into a force play at the plate for the second out, then struck out Waldrop to end the threat.
Grayson County then completed the comeback with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead for good. With one out, back-to-back singles by Hunter Young and Noah Bullock put runners at first and third.
Jack Davis was out on a pop-up trying to bunt the runners along, but Parker Cain singled to right to bring in Young with the tying run. Shiarella followed with his third hit of the day, a single to left that loaded the bases.
That brought up Hodges, who promptly singled to left to drive in Bullock and Cain and the Cougars led 5-3. The Wildcats made a pitching change at that point, bringing in Logan Minton, who got Mudd to ground out to end the inning, but the damage had been done.
Akridge, meanwhile was cruising through the Wildcat lineup. The senior lefty struck out five batters in a row from the fourth through the sixth innings before walking Jaggers with one out in the sixth. He retired the next two batters to get out of that inning and retired the lead-off man in the seventh before walking Waldrop.
Hunter Garrett grounded into a force at second before Akridge got Cole Skaggs to fly out to right to end the game. The Cougars improved to 4-10 on the season, while the Wildcats fell to 11-7.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016