Bulldogs no-hit Bobcats

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 21, 2015

Brayden Burkhardt was sizzling on the mound for the Bulldogs Friday night.

Brayden Burkhardt was sizzling on the mound for the Bulldogs Friday night.

Brayden Burkhardt pitched six no-hit innings, and Devin McDuffie added a no-hit seventh as the Andalusia Bulldogs no-hit the Opp Bobcats in a 1-0 win Friday night at home.


Pitchers Burkhardt and the Bobcats’ Britt Buckelew dueled for the majority of the game.


Burkhardt retired the first six Bobcats he faced before a leadoff error in the top of the third allowed Gunter Wise to reach first.


Wise stole second base a few pitches later. Wise was nearly thrown out on the steal, but the ball popped loose on the tag.


With two outs in the top of the third Eli Johnson walked, and a few pitches later stole second. The Bobcats had runners on second and third with two outs. A passed ball almost plated a run, but Wise didn’t break to the plate in time and was forced to remain at third.


Burkhardt got a ground ball to third base on the next pitch to close out the top half of the third inning.


Buckelew was dealing on the mound as well, and retired the first nine batters he faced. Buckelew didn’t allow a single runner on base until Hunter Earnest reached on an error to start the bottom of the fourth inning. Earnest stole second, and then reached third on a ground ball. Buckelew responded by striking out the final batter of the inning.


With one out in the top of the fifth inning, Wise reached for the second time on an error, but Burkhardt remained poised, and retired the next two batters, leaving Wise stranded on first.


The top of the sixth inning began with Johnson reaching first on his second walk. After two consecutive ground outs, Johnson was on third base. Burkhardt gritted his teeth, and got the next batter to ground out to second base.


In the bottom half of the sixth, Buckelew continued to dazzle on the mound, but with two outs, Earnest hit a line drive that got past the infielders for the game’s first hit. As Earnest crept off first, Buckelew fired over a pick off attempt, but the ball got past the first baseman and headed down the right field fence. Earnest took second easy, but tried to take third as well and was thrown out by a few steps.


McDuffie took over on the mound for Burkhardt in the top of the seventh inning. Walker Messer reached on an error to start the Bobcats’ seventh inning, and a sacrifice bunt moved him to second with one out. Messer advanced to third pass on a passed ball a few pitches later. McDuffie dug down deep, and got the next batter to pop out to first baseman Todd Wright. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Opp sent pinch hitter Lane Foster to the plate. Foster hit a solid line drive, but Burkhardt snagged the ball at second for the third out.


Burkhardt was the first Bulldog to come to the plate in the bottom half of the seventh inning, and was hit by a pitch from Buckelew. Buckelew struck out the next batter, and then Burkhardt swiped second. Burkhardt moved to third on a sacrifice hit from Chase Hopkins. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the winning run on third, Wright strolled in the batter’s box with a clear head. Wright barreled up one of Buckelew’s pitches and sent it sailing over the head of the center fielder. The hit easily plated Burkhardt, and Wright’s teammates were there to swarm him after he touched first.


“I just came up there with a clear mind and my normal approach,” Wright said. “I got a good pitch to hit. It was very exciting.”


Wright and Earnest had the only two hits of the game.


“I knew I had seven guys behind me ready to make a play,” Burkhardt said of his thoughts on the mound. “I just tried to do what Coach Woodall told me, and that was to just stay relaxed and focused.”


Burkhardt threw six shutout innings, allowed two walks, no hits and six strikeouts.


“This one is because of the seniors,” Bulldogs’ head coach Tyler Dent said. “Brayden was very good on the mound for six innings, and then Devin came in a threw strikes in the seventh. Hunter hit the ball well, and Todd came through in big spot. I thought I might have run us out of the ball game in the sixth inning, but that is type of baseball we are going to play. We are going to try to put pressure on people, and force errors.”


With the win the Bulldogs move to 3-1 on the season, and the Bobcats fall to 1-2.


The Bulldogs’ next game will be Monday in Andalusia when they face Geneva at 4:30 p.m.


The Bobcats’ next game will be Monday in Opp when they play Providence Christian at 4:30 p.m.