Lambert baseball coach Rick Howard could have been fooled into thinking he was having a dream about Wednesday’s 4-0 region win over rival North Forsyth from Wednesday.
In a game that felt like Déjà vu, the Longhorns were able to produce a similar result on the road with a 3-0 victory over the Raiders to extend their winning streak to six games. Much like Wednesday at home, Lambert (13-4, 10-1) did all of its damage in the opening inning before enduring a strong pitching performance from the opponent.
Jarrett Wright doubled in the game’s first at-bat, then scored off a Kyle McCann RBI-single before Jake Tomelevage and Michael Raiano scored off a wild throw and RBI-single from Will Gabbert, respectively.
After North (12-6, 8-4) starting pitcher Andrew Grogan endured his four-hit opening frame, he locked in the rest of the way, allowing just two hits and finishing with eight strikeouts against one walk.
“When you play back to back you don’t expect to see two similar games, but that’s exactly what we got,” Howard said. “We were fortunate to jump on them early in the game and both games.”
Lambert starting pitcher Turner Scruggs dominated. Outside of surrendering two singles to Bailey Gerstner, the rest of North’s lineup went 0-18 against the senior right-hander. Alex Todd entered in the seventh to record the final two outs of the contest.
“I can’t say enough about Turner’s outing tonight,” Howard said. “And then Alex got in and got some time he’s needed. We’ve just been so good pitching that our relief hasn’t done a lot of work.”
Howard was impressed by Grogan, much like he was North’s Tyler Fairchild on Wednesday, who also shook off a tough opening frame and cruised the rest of the way.
“(Grogan)was really good. The thing was, he went through what happened in the first inning, adjusted and stuck with it the rest of the way. It’s good for us to face good pitching like that too.”
North head coach Jim Cahill saw Grogan’s performance as a bright spot.
“He put in a second gear after that first inning where they hit him around pretty hard, but after that he settled in and played really good,” Cahill said.
Despite being shut out twice by a Longhorns team that has now allowed just 14 runs in 12 region games, Cahill hopes his team refocuses on the fundamentals and not the opponent.
“It doesn’t matter who we are playing. We never worry about who we are playing, we just have to approach our pitching and defense and things like that,” Cahill said. “You don’t play the opponent, you play the game of baseball, and if you can’t do the small things right you’re in trouble.”
Jarrett Wright and Griffin Jarrett both doubled for the Longhorns, while Raiano was 2 for 2 with a run scored and two stolen bases. Cory York had North’s only other hit against Todd in the final frame.
North will head to South Carolina for games against South Aiken and North Augusta on Friday and Saturday, while Lambert heads to Florida for games against Eustis and Mount Dora.