J.T. Long hit a home run in his first at-bat of the season and pitched his Mercer County team to a win Thursday as the Titans defeated Anderson County 6-3 in their season opener at Harrodsburg.
Long, whose walk-off home run gave Mercer (1-0) the win in the 12th Region championship game last season, homered in the first inning, and Mercer took control of the game with a four-run fourth inning.
Long allowed three hits and no earned runs in six innings on the mound.
“J.T. pitched a very good ballgame in his first outing,” Mercer coach Jeremy Shope said. “And we were able to put some hits together.”
Mercer had three hits in the second inning, scoring a run on Chris Goodman’s drag-bunt single, and four more in the fourth, when the Titans produced three runs on a double by Trevor Tate, singles by Russell Sims and curry Brown and a sacrifice fly by Jon Banks and went on to take a 6-1 lead.
Banks loaded the bases in the seventh inning, but Jackson Stoeckinger got the final out of the game on an infield pop-up.
Rockcastle County 3, Garrard County 0 — At Mount Vernon, Rockcastle (1-0) scored three times in the sixth inning to break a scoreless tie and beat Garrard (0-1), spoiling C.J.¿Lynn’s coaching debut with the Golden Lions.
Garrard starter Matt Wilburn pitched 3 1/3 hitless innings before the Rockets got their first hit in the fourth innings. Chris McSorley worked 1 2/3 innings and took the loss.
Rockcastle pitcher Boone Saylor allowed five hits.
“Matt was throwing a lot of strikes, he was hitting his spots and working very hard on the mound,” Lynn said. “I’m very happy with the way we played; just some small mistakes hurt us in the end.”
Thursday’s Area Baseball Linescores
Anderson County 001 002 0 — 3 4 1
Mercer County 110 400 x — 6 8 3
Cotton and Stockton. Long, Banks (7), Stoeckinger (7) and Brown. W—Long. L—Cotton. Sv—Stoeckinger. 2B—Cotton (AC), Tate (MC). HR—Long (MC).
Garrard County 000 000 0 — 0 5 3
Rockcastle County 000 003 0 — 3 6 0
Wilburn, McSorley (5), Young (6) and Lyon, R. Saylor (6). B. Saylor and Smith.