MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Brandon Willingham kept Grace Christian in check for four innings, but the Knoxville school broke the game open with a four-run fifth and iced it with four more in the sixth on the way to a 9-1 Class A baseball victory Tuesday night in the state tournament.
The Buccaneers, who had made an impressive postseason run to reach the Spring Fling, just couldn't find the offense against Grace's Justin Shaw. He posted five strikeouts while walking two but limited the Bucs to just six hits.facebook
Pitching had been the Bucs' strength, but Willingham and reliever Cade Evans eventually were roughed up. Willingham had a shutout through four innings but gave up three hits on 0-2 counts in the fifth.
Austin Jackson was the only Boyd-Buchanan hitter with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 and scoring his team's run in the top of the sixth.
"Our bats were sporadic. We just didn't hit much and just didn't put anything together," Bucs coach Josh Rider said. "We have to hit a whole lot better."
They'll play Huntington today at 11 a.m. at Middle Tennessee Christian. Huntington lost 3-1 to Forrest.
"The mindset is to win that first game and get into the Wednesday night game," Rider said. "We feel like if any team can come back from the losers-bracket it's us. We have the pitching."
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.