Harrisburg hands Fayette first loss of season

Harrisburg junior Bryan Bolton (left) slides home safely past the tag of Fayette catcher Chance Goff during the third inning Monday night in Harrisburg. The Bulldogs defeated Fayette 13-1 in five innings.

Harrisburg’s baseball season got off to a late start this spring, but the Bulldogs are catching up on everyone rather quickly.

Hosting Fayette in its home opener Monday, Harrisburg scored 11 runs in the second and third innings to beat the Falcons 13-1 in five innings. It was Fayette’s first loss of the season.

In the top of the first inning, Harrisburg stole any momentum Fayette might have had. With runners on second and third base and one out, Fayette cleanup hitter Ethan Chew lifted a lazy pop fly down the left-field line. The ball drifted into foul territory, but Blake Williams made the catch against the fence.

The Falcons’ runners stayed put on the basepaths and the next batter struck out to end the threat. Harrisburg went on to score 13 straight runs.

“Coming off the field after the top of the first, I told my players that was a momentum-killer,” Harrisburg head coach Brian Simpson said. “No matter what we got, it was going to take the wind out of their sails.”

Harrisburg scored a pair of unearned runs in the first inning, but the bats rattled like crazy starting in the second inning. Blake Cochran’s two-run single triggered a two-out rally that led to six runs for the Bulldogs.

That was more than enough for Harrisburg pitcher Cody Colyer. The senior retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout and allowed one unearned run in the fourth inning, when Collin O’Connell scored from second base on a throwing error.

“Their pitcher did a really nice job of finding his spot and making some key outs against us,” Fayette head coach Garth Menees said. “We just couldn’t extend the inning on offense.”

Cochran and Bryan Bolton each had a single, a double and two RBIs to lead Harrisburg’s offense. Coch-ran also pitched a scoreless fifth inning to close the game.

Williams had a double for Harrisburg (2-1) and Blake Gipson, Austin Horn, Colyer and Trey Freeman each had one single. Freeman also drove in a run in the second inning.

Colyer earned his first win of the year, striking out nine batters in four innings of work. Davis Valencia took the loss for Fayette (2-1), allowing eight runs in 1-2/3 innings of work. Menees said on paper, Valencia’s performance may look similar to his season debut last week, but the junior did a much better job Monday with his pitch location.

Both of Fayette’s hits came in the first inning on a single by Valencia and a double from O’Connell.

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