Fast start enough for Tobs

Five-run first inning helps Tobs end slide with 6-3 victory

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A five-run spree in the bottom of the first inning and five strong innings from starting right-handed pitcher Chris Kernen returned the Wilson Tobs to winning ways with a 6-3 Coastal Plain League North Division summer collegiate baseball conquest of the Edenton Steamers before a sizable “Thirsty Thursday” turnout in Fleming Stadium.

The Tobs of head coach Bryan Hill stopped their slide at three games and evened their record at 3-3 despite five pitchers issuing 10 walks and hitting two opposing batters with pitchers. The Steamers, now 0-2 against Wilson this season, departed with a 1-5 record.

Pitchers from each team issued 10 walks. The Steamers stranded 12 base runners and Wilson eight.

Wilson benefited from the woes of starting Edenton right-handed pitcher Alex Hart, a rising sophomore at Barton College, in the first. Hart was making his first start after three scoreless relief appearances.

However, Hart issued three walks in the first and the Tobs utilized their three hits — left fielder Antwaun Tucker’s single, catcher Shamoy Christopher’s RBI single and right fielder Carson Freeman’s two-run double. Designated hitter Ben Faso plated a run with a bases-loaded walk and first baseman Caleb Dean collected an RBI on an infield grounder.

Edenton reliever Carl Hall blanked the Tobs on one hit the next 4 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking three.

Wilson managed an unearned run in the seventh as Faso drew a walk with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scrambled home on an error on Freeman’s infield chopper.

In the meantime, Kernen blanked the Steamers until the fifth. He allowed but three hits, an earned run and three walks while striking out five.

Edenton plated a run in each of the fifth and sixth innings. The Steamers stranded two base runners in the seventh.

The Tobs’ stress level, because of the walks, was up throughout, but crested when left-handed reliever Cody Smith walked the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth.

Left-handed reliever Jared Gallagher allowed a bloop RBI single to Steamers shortstop Arthur Warneke before ending the inning by fielding a bouncer back to the mound.

Luis Acosta quickly dispensed with the Steamers in the ninth to claim his first save and preserve Kernen’s first win without a loss. Acosta retired Edenton in order, striking out a pair.

The Tobs visit the Martinsville Mustangs on Friday and High Point-Thomasville on Saturday before returning to Fleming Stadium to welcome the Holly Springs Salamanders at 6 p.m. Sunday.