UNION — One big inning was all it took for Union County to eliminate its third straight region opponent with a 4-2 win on Monday night when Chapman paid a visit.
After three and a half innings of scoreless baseball the Jackets took a 4-0 lead on a 2-RBI double and a 2-run error. The Panthers closed the gap by two in the fifth and threatened to score again in the sixth but strong pitching and heads up plays in the field allowed Union County to maintain its lead.
Troy Millwood started off the third inning rally with a line drive into center field. Mark Jeter followed with a walk and Recus Hughes drove them both in with double to left-center. Dustin West followed with a single to left field and Michael Todd Harris hit a hot shot that Chapman’s shortstop couldn’t handle. The Jackets took advantage of the error, plating two more runs to take the 4-0 lead.
Chapman received a pair of base-runners in the top of the fourth with a hit and a walk but Union County’s starting pitcher Jimmy Johnson beared down to finish the inning with a strikeout.
The Jackets were held to three up, three down in the bottom of the inning and Chapman scratched two runs across in the fifth with a fielder’s choice and an error, slicing the lead in half at 4-2.
The Panthers threatened to rally on two outs in the sixth with runners in scoring position but Recus Hughes tracked down a fly ball in foul territory to get Union County out of the jam with its lead intact.
Quay Cooper led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to left field and Kennedy Beatty drew a walk. Millwood reached on a fielder’s choice and Cooper advanced to third on the play but both were left stranded when a ground out ended the inning.
Chapman wouldn’t go quietly and was looking to make some noise in the seventh when the lead off batter, Charles Ashmore, reached on an error and Union County center fielder Mark Jeter robbed Caleb Lupton of a hit when he chased down a fly ball in shallow left-center. The Jackets eliminated the lead-off runner with a fielder’s choice on the next play and relief pitcher Cameron Queen recorded the save three pitches later as Harris reeled in a pop-up at third base.
Chapman managed just one hit off Queen, who allowed no earned runs, walked none and struck out none during his 2 2/3 innings of work.
Johnson picked up the win for the Jackets with four strikeouts, three walks and three hits in 4.1 innings.
Hughes 1-2 with 2 RBI double, 1 walk, 1 run scored
West 1-2 with 1 walk and 1 run scored
Cooper 1-2 with a walk
Millwood 1-3, double