McPherson managed 2-0 leads early in both games of Tuesday’s doubleheader. Not quite the beginnings Tyler Roberts nor Michael Albright envisioned for their first starts of the season.
But by the end of their performances, they both played the part and showed they can give Augusta’s baseball team a boost in its rotation.
Roberts pitched a complete game and allowed just two runs and two hits with six strikeouts in a dominating performance. After falling behind 2-0, the Orioles scored a run in the third and two in the fifth to rally for a 3-2 victory.
“At the beginning, I was out there just trying to get my groove,” Roberts said. “As soon as I got that groove, they weren’t able to hit anything.”
Albright walked his first two batters as the Bullpups took another early lead in Game 2. But he settled down and kept McPherson off the scoreboard the next four innings. The Orioles capitalized on opportunities offensively that led to a 6-3 victory.
With the sweep, Augusta improves to 7-1 on the season.
“I started off very slow, but eventually built up some confidence and started throwing a lot of strikes and getting more outs,” Albright said. “Curve ball was working for me, and hitting spots with my fastball.”
In the opener, McPherson hit a double and later scored a run on a sacrifice. The Bullpups added a run in the third on a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.
Augusta got on the scoreboard when Mason Hiser, who hit a lead-off double, crossed home plate on a double by Chase Winter.
In the fifth, Winter hit a double, then scored after Kolton Schenker hit a single. An error on the play allowed Schenker to race to third. He then score the go-ahead run after Roberts drove him in with a base hit.
Roberts only seemed to get stronger and nastier on the mound as the game progressed. He retired the side three of the last four innings, and all of his strikeouts came in the fourth inning or later.
“At first, I was throwing the fast ball in there, getting the timing down,” Roberts said. “In the later innings, I started throwing in my curve ball and my changeup, and it caught them off-guard. [Assistant coach David] Stephenson was helping me out with mixing them up.”
“[Roberts] did a great job, threw a great game,” coach Doug Jefferson said. “His arm’s in shape, he’s in shape and we know he can go the distance. Today he was on, and yeah, that gives us another starter down the road, especially Regional time,”
Page 2 of 2 - In Game 2, Schenker smacked a triple to right field to score Hiser for the Orioles’ first run. Roberts then hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game 2-2 after one inning.
“Luckily, we answered right back,” Jefferson said. “And [Albright] settled down and pitched good innings for us.”
In the third, Augusta scored a run after McPherson was called for interfering with a base runner. Connor Hurst later hit an RBI single to score Albright for a 4-2 lead. In the fifth, Hiser hit an RBI single to score Tyler Bond for a 5-2 lead.
McPherson added a run in the sixth to get within two, but Augusta responded with another run of its own to help seal the victory.
Augusta’s next games will be at Mulvane Friday afternoon in a doubleheader makeup game.
Augusta, Circle split doubleheader
- Circle defeated Augusta 4-1 in the opener of Saturday’s makeup doubleheader, which handed the Orioles their first loss of the season. But Augusta responded with a 7-3 win in Game 2 for the split.
“We’re a pretty young team, so you never know how they’re going to respond to their first loss, so to see them bounce back and get some runs and come out excited to play was good to see.” Jefferson said.