Floyd, Griffins Dominate Shamrocks

Fairfield Central pitcher Lane Floyd (16), cover home on a play at the plate, celebrates after putting the tag on Eau Claire’s Devon Smith. (Photo/Ross Burton)

Fairfield Central pitcher Lane Floyd (16), cover home on a play at the plate, celebrates after putting the tag on Eau Claire’s Devon Smith. (Photo/Ross Burton)

WINNSBORO (March 9, 2016) – The Fairfield Central Griffins baseball squad opened regular season play against region foe Eau Claire Tuesday night, and they looked much sharper than in their last preseason outing where they took a 14-3 smashing at the hands of Ben Lippen.

Behind a dominant starting pitching performance from Lane Floyd, Fairfield easily trumped the Shamrocks, 17-1. Floyd pitched a three-hit complete game, struck out six and only walked one.

“I feel a little bit better than last time,” Griffin’s head coach Scotty Dean said. “I’m thrilled with Lane. The last time he pitched he walked five guys in one inning, and then tonight to have one.”

After a shutout inning in the top of the first, the Griffins knocked in four runs in the bottom half. Travious Williams, a junior, and Harvey Smith, a sophomore, both had a 2RBI double.

Eau Claire’s Robert Johnson reached on an error in the top of second, and turned out to be the Shamrock’s only run of the game.

The momentum was short-lived as the Griffins continued to pound Eau Claire starting pitcher Darius Jivers, who was pulled after only 1.1 innings pitched. His replacement, Robert Johnson, was not any more effective, and Fairfield pushed across four more runs in the bottom of the second.

Floyd continued his standout performance in the third, retiring the side in order, and notched two more punch-outs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Griffins continued to pad their lead.

The same sloppy play that held the Griffins back in their last game seemed to haunt the Shamrocks Tuesday. Rodderick Woodard and Brandon Adams both scored off errors to start the bottom of the third.

Simmons knocked in his third RBI of the game in the bottom of a five-run third inning, and Fairfield pushed ahead to 13-1.

Rashard Meyers got on base for the Shamrocks with a leadoff single, and stole second to put the Shamrocks in position to make the score look a bit better. But Floyd was having none of it and he retired the next three batters, leaving Meyers stranded in scoring position.

Eau Claire switched pitchers once again in the bottom of the fourth, and this time it was Teion Thomas’s turn to face the unforgiving Griffins’ bats.

Thomas walked Woodard and Adams, Fairfield’s first two batters of the inning, both of whom went on to a steal a base. An effective base-running performance aided the blowout. Woodard and Travious Williams both had three stolen bags apiece.

“That’s a big part of our game, we get on base and we try to run,” Dean said. “First of all, throwing somebody out is a hard thing to do anyway. I think in the big leagues 40 percent is a good deal, so 60 percent of the time base stealers are safe.”

Stanley McManus came through on a sac-fly, and later in the inning David Gibson, a pinch-hitter, knocked in two runs on a single. Tracy Williamson also knocked in his second RBI of the game.

Going into the last inning, now down, 17-1, the Shamrocks did not put up much resistance. Floyd opened the inning by striking out Eau Claire’s first two hitters, and although he allowed his sole walk, the very next batter grounded out to end the game, and put a cap on a dazzling pitching performance.

The Griffins will have a chance to go up 2-0 against their region opponents when they take on the Shamrocks again Friday, this time at Eau Claire. In the interim, Fairfield Central will travel to Columbia High Thursday. They return home March 16 to host Mid Carolina. All three games begin at 6 p.m.

“I feel like we put it together a little bit more, a little bit better today than we had in the past,” Dean said. “We’ve still got a long ways to go, but if we throw strikes we’ve got a chance. That’s the name of the game: throw strikes and play hard.”

FC: 4-4-5-4-X – 17

EC: 0-1-0-0-0 – 1

Pitching: FC- Lane Floyd (W), CG, 5IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 6K, 0HB. EC: Darius Jivers (L), 1.1IP, 2H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 3K, 5WP.

Hitting: 3B: Chris Young (EC). 2B: Tracy Williamson, Harvey Smith, Chris Simmons (FC). RBI: Williamson (2), Simmons (3), Smith (2), Gibson (2), McManus (FC); Young (EC).

LOB: FC-5, EC- 5.