MURPHYSBORO — Coming off an upset road win over conference rival Nashville, the Carterville Lions found the road to their liking for the second straight game with a 16-4 five-inning win over cross-conference foe Murphysboro in a baseball game Thursday.
“It was a mid-week non-conference game so you never know what to expect,” said Carterville coach Bobby Jackson. “We kind of took advantage of things. We got a few walks and a couple of errors then get a big hit. It kind of unraveled and I’ve been on both sides of it.”
Carterville improved to 8-4 while the Murphysboro Red Devils fell to 2-8.
“It’s kind of what happens when you find out your starter for Friday is getting an MRI on elbow today,” said Murphysboro coach Andy Winters. “We haven’t been healthy all year and it would be nice to get everybody healthy at the same time, but it hasn’t been in the cards for us this year, but that’s no excuse. At the same time, we have to play better than we did today."
The best defensive plays of the game came in the third when left fielder Brock Tuttle made a diving catch in the corner on a line drive by Devin Eovaldi with runners at first and second and one out.
Zach Smith, who had moved to second when he was relieved by Cam Hall on the mound to open the inning, followed with a snag in the hole to throw out the batter for the third out.
Smith (3-1) pitched the first two innings for the Lions giving up two unearned runs in the first and pitching around a leadoff double by Ryan Karg in the second. Hall finished the game giving up an unearned run in the third and a leadoff solo home run to Brandon Caldwell in the fifth.
The Lions banged out 12 hits with the third, fourth and fifth men in the batting order finishing with eight hits and five RBIs led by catcher Cole Sizemore with three hits in three at-bats and two RBIs. This was the fourth time Sizemore had three hits this season.
“We came out energized and put up a couple runs in the first to set the tone for the rest of the game,” Sizemore said. “Zach started and threw some strikes and we had the offense to back him up.”
The fourth man in the order Luke Andersen went 3-for-4 driving in the first run of the game and the fifth Peter Baker went 2-for-3 driving in the second run in the first and another in the fourth.
After the Lions jumped out to its 2-0 lead, the Red Devils jumped back into the game with two runs in the bottom of the first on a leadoff single by Sam Dietz, a walk to Seth Daniels and an error by the third baseman that allowed Dietz to score. One out later, Kenny Peterein singled to drive in Daniels.
The Lions put the game away in the second, sending 12 men to the plate to score seven runs on three hits, two errors and five walks.