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Lewisburg defeats Oxford with solid pitching, rare Charger miscues

Oxford has not faced a lot of elite pitching in the early part of the season, but when they have, they’ve struggled. That was the case on Wednesday during the Chargers’ 6-4 loss to Lewisburg at Edwin Moak Field.

Bryce Brock took the mound for the Patriots, and the Mississippi State commit showed why he was selected for the 2018 Dandy Dozen team. Brock worked 4 1/3 innings and struck out 11 Charger batters.

“He’s as good as advertised,” Oxford coach Chris Baughman said. “I didn’t think he was at his best tonight. I thought he had to battle out there. I thought once we got up around 55-60 pitches, we had some better at-bats and got him deeper in counts and got him out of there quicker than they wanted him to. He’s good and we’re going to face guys that are that good. … At some point, somebody’s got to step up and put together some hits off good pitching.”

Brock’s efficiency on the mound along with rare miscues on the field were the two hurdles Oxford (3-3) could not overcome. The Chargers committed six errors on the night, an uncharacteristic night in the field allowing Lewisburg to extend some innings and score their final run to provide some insurance.

“It was pretty pitiful in the field,” Baughman said. “We’ll get better. We’ve just got to catch it and throw it better. When you’re in a ballgame when you know runs are at a premium, you’ve got to make plays defensively. You can’t have more than one error. We gave them two extra innings. Nobody’s good enough to overcome that.”

Making his first career start on the mound, Kobin Ross had one job and that was to keep the Chargers in the game. While Lewisburg roughed him up some, the senior lasted four-plus innings, giving up four runs on three hits and struck out seven batters. His lone mistake occurred in the second inning when designated hitter Brady Johnson hit what would be the winning two-run home run for the Patriots (4-1).

Hays Roth pitched an inning and Tyler Smith worked the final two innings in relief.

“He just kept it close and that’s all I wanted him to do,” Baughman said. “We wanted to start Tyler, but moving it up a day, I wasn’t comfortable throwing him extended time after throwing 60 pitches on Saturday. Our plan was to get Kobin a start, he needed one, in a tight situation because we’re going to need somebody like that later on. That’s why Hays Roth has been in the game so many times. We need him to perform.”

In his return to the batting order, Drew Bianco had a mixed bag of results. The senior shortstop went 1-for-2 with a infield single, a strikeout, a walk and a sacrifice fly. The sac fly occurred in the home half of the first, scoring his brother, Sam, for the short-lived 1-0 Charger lead.

Sam scored two runs and was 2-for-3 at the plate with a strikeout. Drew and center fielder Clark Stovall scored the other two runs for Oxford.

The Chargers have a pair of games planned in Hoover, Alabama on Saturday if the predicted rain does not fall on Saturday before returning home for their annual spring break tournament next week.