Oh and trouble: DH setback puts Tigers playoff hopes on thin ice
Published 11:50 am Monday, March 26, 2007
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
It is largely because of 12 errors the T.R. Miller Tigers no longer have any margin of error.
The dozen miscues played a huge role in the Tigers' Class 4A Area 2 doubleheader setback at Andalusia Friday, as the Bulldogs rolled to an 11-2 win in game one and rallied for a 7-5 victory in game two.
The first game loss dropped T.R. Miller (5-7 overall) to 0-2 in Area play and put its back against the wall in its attempt to make the state playoffs. Game two was for tiebreaker purposes in event the teams finish tied in the Area standings.
On the flip side, Andalusia (10-6 overall) moved into sole possession of the Area lead at 3-0, one-half game ahead of idle W.S. Neal (2-0). W.S. Neal and Andalusia square off in a doubleheader at East Brewton Friday. The top two teams in the Area advance to postseason.
Eight different Tigers committed errors on the day from seven different positions. Ten of the errors came in the game one loss.
T.R. Miller also had some struggles at the plate, as Andalusia lefthanders Matt Mellown and Taylor Culbreth threw complete games. Mellown scattered five hits and struck out six, while Culbreth struck out nine and allowed six hits.
Only three of Andalusia's runs in the opener were earned. Two of those came in the bottom of the first inning when singles by Nate Cooper and Aaron Haag set up a two-run double by Culbreth off losing T.R. Miller hurler Baxley Raines, who suffered his first loss after a 4-0 start to the season.
The Tigers committed four errors in the bottom of the third when Andalusia doubled its lead to 4-0 and three more in the fourth inning when the Bulldogs again doubled their lead, this time to 8-0.
Mellown had a no-hitter going until Allen Williams spoiled it with a two-out single in the top of the fourth.
The Tigers got both of their runs in the top of the fifth. Singles by Tanner Shehan and Seth Holland preceded a run-scoring error on a ball hit by Raines and an RBI single by Becker Denton.
Jeff Etheridge's two-run double off reliever Derek Busby, who had taken over for Raines at the start of the inning, got both those runs back for Andalusia in the bottom of the fifth to make it 10-2. One inning later Culbreth walked, stole second and scored on back-to-back groundouts to account for the last run.
T.R. Miller had two leads slip away in game two.
The Tigers scored twice in the top of the first inning. Shehan and Raines both singled. Shehan scored when the ball was thrown away after Denton hit into a fielder's choice, while Raines scored when a ball hit by Christopher Griffin was misplayed.
Andalusia got both of those runs right back in the bottom of the first off losing T.R. Miller hurler Mackie Jackson, who slipped to 0-4 on the season. Jackson, who had only had three runs scored for him in his first three starts, gave up a leadoff walk to Nate Cooper and a single to Etheridge. Haag drove home Cooper with a groundout. Etheridge scored on a throwing error after a wild pitch.
T.R. Miller regained its original two-run lead back in the top of the third. Raines walked, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Griffin. Williams followed with an RBI triple to make it 4-2.
Andalusia tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when James Hogg delivered a two-run single. The Bulldogs took a 5-4 lead one batter later when Justin Ainsworth's RBI groundout.
The Tigers tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the sixth. Williams was hit by a pitch and was sacrificed to second by Will Waters. Brice Martin followed with an RBI single.
Andalusia regained the lead in similar fashion in the bottom half of the sixth. Cory Dukes singled, was sacrificed to second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Ainsworth. The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 7-5 two batters later when Haag hit an RBI double.
T.R. Miller 000 020 0 – 2 5 10
Andalusia 2020 421 X - 11 9 3
T.R. Miller 202 001 0 - 5 6 2
Andalusia 200 302 X - 7 10 3