• 81°

Tyler Smith’s no-hitter leads Oxford past Tupelo

By Jared Redding

Chris Baughman was just about lost for words when asked about Tyler Smith’s performance on the mound.

The Oxford Chargers (17-5, 6-1)  knocked off defending Class 6A champion Tupelo once again this week by the score of 3-0 at Edwin Moak Field on Thursday. A win over South Panola next week would officially lock up a No. 1 playoff seed for the Chargers.

“This was a big ball game, but it hopefully won’t be the biggest game that we will play the rest of the year,” Baughman said.

The night belonged to Tyler Smith, who pitched a no-hitter for the second time in his career. Smith also struck out 10 batters.

“When you come out and allow no hits to a team like that, you have done something really special,” Baughman said. “For about a three-inning stretch in the third, fourth or fifth inning, he didn’t have his best stuff. He couldn’t throw his offspeed stuff for a strike. Then in about the sixth or seventh inning, I told him we have to have our offspeed stuff for a strike. He dug in. Once he got that slider and when he started throwing those curveballs for strikes, he is really hard to get runs against.”

The game had a chance of getting out of hand early. The Chargers had the bases loaded with no outs in the first inning. Tupelo’s South Sanders was able to get out of it with no damage as Oxford stranded all three runners. The Chargers ended up with eight runners stranded total on the night.

“We let them off the hook,” Baughman said. “We had bases loaded in the first inning for the second time this week. We can’t keep doing that. We have got to get guys in. Even if it was one run or two, that would’ve been huge that inning.”

Offensively, the scoring got started with Sam Bianco, who scored on a wild pitch. Right after that, Parker Stinnett’s RBI double made the score 2-0 in the third inning. Bo Gatlin’s sacrifice fly in the sixth inning scored C.J. Terrell. Oxford finished the night with eight hits. Sam and Drew Bianco each finished the game with two hits.

“We did some things that we can’t do later on in the playoffs offensively,” Baughman said. “I wasn’t pleased with us at the plate tonight, but we did what it took to win.”