Riverside holds off East Chapel Hill, 3-2

Apr. 28, 2014 @ 11:04 PM

Riverside pitcher Kory Behenna picked up his fifth win of the season despite a shaky start as the defending PAC-6 champs downed visiting East Chapel Hill 3-2 in a low-hitting makeup game Monday night.

“We did all our damage in one inning, and luckily for us that was enough to win it,” said Riverside coach Doug Simmons, whose team remained unbeaten in conference play at 6-0.

“We just didn’t hit well tonight,” Simmons said. “When we did hit the ball hard it was right at the shortstop or right at somebody.”

Lefty Behenna hurled four innings with seven strikeouts, giving him 65 on the year, and only allowed one hit. But he issued six walks as he struggled to control his 85 mph fastball.

“Basically, he didn’t pitch well tonight,” Simmons said. “Kory had two balks, two wild pitches, so we were moving guys over into scoring position for them.”

Simmons went to the bullpen in the fifth for another lefty, senior Blake Morgan, who

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entered the game with a 0.32 ERA in 21.2 innings. Morgan whiffed six, giving him 23 on the season.

“Morgan came in and pretty much dominated them from that point on,” Simmons said. He fanned the side in the fifth and sixth, while yielding just one hit to make it a combined two-hitter.

Pirates senior catcher Micah Goodwin, bating .449 coming into the game, laced an infield single to start the second inning, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Behenna. Morgan, who came into the game batting .297, drilled a double over the shortstop’s head into the gap to score Goodwin.

Junior Joe Wood, who was batting .324 coming into the game, knocked a single to advance Morgan to third, and junior Cooper Wilson singled to score Morgan. Wood moved up to third, then scored when senior Dalton Bass hit into a fielder’s choice.

“It was 3-0 there, and I was starting to relax a little bit,” Simmons said. But East Chapel Hill bounced right back to score both of its runs in the top of the third.

Behenna walked the first two batters, threw a wild pitch to move them up to second and third, and then was called for a balk when he dropped the ball on the mound, pushing the Wildcats’ first run across the plate.

After Behenna issued another walk, Wildcats senior catcher Josh Baldwin, batting .366 coming into the game, hit a single in the hole at shortstop for his 16th RBI this season to make it 3-2 before Behenna ended the threat.

Junior John Blue took the loss for East Chapel Hill.

“He kept us off balance and pitched a good game,” Simmons said. Blue “didn’t throw very hard, but he threw a lot of strikes. He didn’t walk one guy. He mixed it up, threw his change-up, threw his curve and kept us off balance -- fly out, ground out. Fly out ground out. He didn’t strike out anybody.”

“We’ve got 10 seniors on this team and a lot of guys with experience, so we feel like we’re where we’re supposed to be as far as being on top of the conference,” Simmons said. “We’ve got to go through everybody one more time, and there’s some good teams in this league, and some teams that can beat everybody.”