Seventh inning Neville scoring downs Bearcats in opener

(Photo Credit: Reggie McLeroy)

By Kyle Roberts

For six innings, Ruston and Neville were looking at a low scoring season opener at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park, combining for on five runs and six hits.

Then came the seventh inning.

Heading into the final stanza, Ruston had a 3-2 lead with two outs before Neville scored five straight runs for the 7-3 win. The Tigers would tie the game 3-3 in the top of the seventh with a single to third base that scored one run with two outs. A few batters later, an error in the outfield would tack on three extra runs for the Tigers to lead 6-3. After a Ruston pitching change, Neville would add another run to take a 7-3 lead.

Ruston would threaten with a couple of base runners in the bottom of the ninth, but the Bearcats would not be able to get anyone across the plate.

“Hats off to them,” Ruston head coach Zack Smith said of Neville. “They came out and they were the better team tonight; I thought their pitcher did well for them. I really thought (Ruston senior pitcher) Nick Robinson threw the ball well and reached his pitch count mark that we had set for him; we’re expecting him to go this weekend also. Then I thought (senior pitcher) Bryant Bennett came in and did an outstanding job in relief. He got his pitch count up a little bit for us this week because we need him.

“We’ve got a big weekend of games ahead of us, and we’re trying to watch our arms right now.”

The Bearcats took an early 2-1 lead after the first inning and added a run in the bottom of the third off an RBI single by Justin Szymanski that scored Dyson Fields from second base to extend Ruston’s lead to 3-1.

Neville would answer in the top of the fourth with one run to cut into the Bearcat lead at 3-2.

The Tigers would threaten again at the top of the fifth with a runner in scoring position before senior catcher RJ Brown threw out the runner at third base for the third out of the inning.

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