By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
Tyler Morgan pounded the plate with strikes in the Rams 8-3 win against Pinckneyville on Wednesday.
“Every batter was strike one. He was ahead of every hitter,” Mt. Vernon coach Tim Holloway said. “(He) located his fastball and got his curveball over when he needed to. That good located fastball is going to get you a lot of success.”
Morgan pitched five innings for the victory. Of the 15 outs he recorded on the mound, 13 were strikeouts. He fanned the side in second, third and fourth innings. He allowed five hits and just one walk.
The Rams broke the game open in the fourth inning. Mt. Vernon led 3-1 and doubled their total in the frame.
“You can't be satisfied up two runs or up three runs or up four,” Holloway said. “You have to add on every inning, and that's just something this group is going to figure out as we go. You can never be up by enough.”
Leadoff hitter Ryan Campbell reached second after a one-out bunt single followed by a Pinckneyville throwing error.
“I like the way he looks in that leadoff spot, starting out the season,” Holloway said. “He will find a way to get on base. He can also swing the bat.”
Blake Jones knocked Campbell in with a single. With two out, Thomas Weber ripped a double to center field that chased home Jones. The Rams made the score 6-1 when pinch runner Connor Storey came home after a botched pick off attempt.
Campbell led the Rams offense with two hits and two RBI. Thomas Weber added two hits, a walk and an RBI. Weber also had two hits in the Rams opener against Salem. Justin Baversachs led Pinckneyville with a pair of triples and two RBI.
Darick Hayes pitched the final two innings to help Mt. Vernon close out the Panthers. Hayes added two strikeouts and finished with two walks. A pair of runs also scored.
“That's a great time to get a sophomore in on the mound,” Holloway said. “Blake Jones got thrown in the mix (against Salem), but I thought he did a good job. And then Darick Hayes has some potential, and he did a good job of throwing strikes.”
The Rams used an aggressive approach on the bases against the Panthers' pitchers. Mt. Vernon finished with seven steals in eight attempts.
Eight of Mt. Vernon's nine starters got on base at least once in the game.
“We took advantage of some opportunities on the bases, had a lot of double steals, able to be aggressive once we got that lead and put some pressure on them,” Holloway said. “We also had some good bunts.”
Mt. Vernon is 1-1 this season and travels to Civic Memorial today.