Parkersburg South baseball tops Nitro, 2-1

PARKERSBURG – A.J. Easter hurled 2 innings of hitless relief to save Brad Brubaker’s win and Parkersburg South won its season opener here Friday night at Hank Greenburg Field as the Patriots doubled up visiting Nitro, 2-1.

The Patriots, who play a noon twinbill today at North Marion, scored both of their runs in the third inning against Wildcat losing relief pitcher Ryan McDonough, who fanned six in four innings after coming in for starter Kip Brewer (two hitless frames).

No. 9 hitter Jordan Braniff laced a one-out stand-up two-bagger down the line in left and scored when Clay Walters reached on a Nitro (1-2) infield error. Braxton Johnson followed with a double to left and Walters crossed the plate after Jacob Wilcox fanned and raced to first when the ball got away from the catcher.

Initially, Walters had to wait until the ball was thrown from home to first and then he broke for the plate, scoring easily. However, an errant throw by the Wildcat first basemen plunked umpire Kent Berry in the head. The game was delayed for nearly 25 minutes and Berry was taken via ambulance to the hospital as Steve Taylor did the rest of the game solo.

Nitro, which had just one hit in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position, got an unearned run off Brubaker in the fourth. Eric Keller reached on a Patriot error to start the frame and Tyler Barton collected the only RBI of the game with a two-out double to center.

Brubaker was lifted after allowing consecutive one-out singles to Solomon Shamblin and Evan Eich in the fifth. Easter then proceeded to get McDonough to hit a comebacker for the second out and after walking Keller, the cleanup hitter, he fanned Matt Harrison to kill the threat. Easter, who like Brubaker recorded four punchouts, retired the next six batters in order.

Pinch-hitter Adam McCray started the fifth with an infield single and Braniff followed with a bunt single, but McDonough induced a double play and then fanned Johnson to end that threat.