---- — MT. VERNON – The Rams baseball team took a key step toward a conference title with a 5-2 victory over Carbondale on Tuesday.
“At home we expect to win, and I feel like if you’re going to win the conference we need to win at home for sure,” Mt. Vernon coach Tim Holloway said. “From that standpoint today’s game was huge.”
Brock Fulkerson threw a complete game for the Rams and earned the win on the mound.
“He’s a competitor, and he had to deal with some adversity today on the mound,” Holloway said. “But he persevered and got out of jams in different innings.”
Fulkerson and the Rams surrendered a run in the opening inning but responded immediately in the bottom half of the inning.
Sawyer Harrison launched a triple to center field to knot the score. Hayden Poninski followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Rams a 2-1 edge.
“We had a lot of guys come through in clutch situations, and that’s what you get with a team full of seniors that are pretty solid players,” Holloway said.
Fulkerson pitched out of a critical base loaded jam in the fifth to keep the Rams ahead. Carbondale’s Noah Thornburg opened the inning with a single. The base eventually loaded with two outs after a walk and an error. But Fulkerson got a ground ball off the bat of Joey Weber that Trevor Flota snagged. He stepped on second to end the inning.
Mt. Vernon got some insurance in the bottom of the fifth. Collin Young rocked a long double to deep center field. The rocket shot off his bat scored a pair of runs to push the Rams lead to 4-1.
Mt. Vernon added another score in the sixth. Again, it was Harrison doing the damage on an RBI single to make the score 5-1.
“You feel like you’re in a pretty good spot, but nothing’s easy,” Holloway said. “And they gave us a good battle.”
Mt. Vernon is 22-5 overall this season and 6-1 in South Seven Conference play. The Rams are at least a full game ahead of every other conference foe. The Rams travel to Cahokia today.