Hornets take 3rd in Florida

SANFORD, Fla. – After starting the Florida High School Invitational with a loss to American Heritage High School in Sanford, Fla., the Bryant Hornets won their next three games, including a 7-6 extra-inning win against the New Smyrna Barracudas on Saturday. The last win gave the Hornets third place in the invitational.

With one out in the bottom of the 10th inning, Bryant senior Tyler Nelson doubled. After a fly out for the second out, senior Jordan Taylor was intentionally walked to put runners at first and second. Senior Josh Pultro was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and sophomore Wesley Akers, who started the game pitching for the Hornets, dropped a single into left field scoring Nelson for the 7-6 win.

Bryant (11-2) was down 6-1 after the top of the fourth inning, but fought back with three runs in the fourth and two in the fifth to tie it, while senior reliever Tryce Schacilin shut the Cudas down from the fourth inning on to allow the Hornets to come back.

Trailing 6-4 going into the bottom of the fifth inning, Taylor singled to start the inning, and with one out, senior Dylan Cross singled as well sending Taylor to second base. Sophomore Chase Tucker flew out for the second out, but New Smyrna’s pitcher Tyler Christensen got a little wild. Christensen threw a wild pitch allowing the runners to second and third, and sophomore Trevor Ezell walked to load the bases. Junior Hayden Daniel, who had four RBIs for the game, followed with a two-run double to tie the game a 6-6.

The Hornets scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to get within two runs when Taylor and Cross scored on Daniel’s first two-RBI double with two outs. Tucker scored on Nelson’s single later in the inning.

The Cudas were up 5-0 after the second inning when Bryant errors allowed New Smyrna to score three unearned runs. Akers got a no-decision pitching three and one-third innings, giving up six runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk, while striking out four. Schacilin relieved for Akers in the fourth and allowed a fly ball that let the runner at third base score, but shut the Cudas down after that. Schacilin pitched six and two-third scoreless innings, giving up three hits and two walks, and striking out five.

“It was unbelievable,” Bryant Coach Kirk Bock said of Schacilin’s effort. “He gave up a deep fly ball that scored a run. There was a guy at third. It was Wesley’s guy. From that point on, he kept them off balance, spread out three hits and did a tremendous job.”

“Of course today, we got the key hits, but Shac coming in and shutting them down when we were down 6-1 gave us a chance to get back in it,” Bryant Assistant Coach Greg Harris said.

Nelson, Taylor, Cross and Daniel each had two hits to lead the Hornets with Nelson adding a run and two RBIs, Taylor two runs, Cross a run and Daniel four RBIs and a run. For the tournament, Nelson hit .538 and Cross hit .455.

The Hornets have a short turnaround after their long ride home. They play Little Rock Catholic on Tuesday with first pitch coming at 5 p.m. in Bryant.