The Augusta Orioles stopped a late Rose Hill rally in the sixth inning and held on to win 3-2 in their opening game against the Rockets to move to play No. 2 seed Clearwater in the regional semifinal Wednesday.
The Orioles drew first blood in the bottom of the second inning when Connor Hurst came around to score after a base hit from Ian Rogers. Hurst had three of the Orioles' 10 total base hits.
"I had to go up there with a plan, as coach is always telling me, and not just go up there swinging," Hurst said. "Pitcher was a little slower today, so I had to wait back, be disciplined."
Starting pitcher Tyler Roberts put up goose egg after goose egg for the Orioles behind his solid defense, spraying six hits in his complete-game victory.
Rose Hill threatened in the top of the fifth, but Roberts stranded runners in scoring position to thwart the Rocket attack.
Augusta added to its lead in the bottom of the fifth when Ian Rogers came up clutch with a two-out, two-RBI single into shallow left field to push the Orioles to a 3-0 advantage.
Augusta would need every run.
The Rockets fought back in the top of the sixth with the season on the line, scoring two runs to get within striking distance before Roberts ended the rally with a crucial strikeout.
"I was a little wild there at certain spots, but I find my groove again, so I wasn't too worried. And I felt my defense was right behind me, too," Roberts said.
Roberts pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning to close out the Rockets and end their season in the same instance.
Up next for Augusta is a veteran No. 2 seed Clearwater squad that dispatched host El Dorado 5-1 in the nightcap of the first day of regional play. The Orioles swept Clearwater in a doubleheader on the road earlier this season.