NITRO, W.Va. -- It was a little bit more of the same across the board Wednesday night at Brandon Matthew Sneed Field.
Hurricane got yet another solid pitching effort as Riley Metz fired a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts to spark a 5-1 victory over Nitro in a matchup of state-ranked teams.
Connor Adams gave the Redskins (11-2), the No. 1 team in the Gazette's Class AAA ratings, all the offense they needed by launching a three-run home run in the top of the first inning.
No. 6 Nitro also took the same path it's followed much of the season - but unfortunately, that meant a lack of runs. The Wildcats (6-4) have tallied just six runs in their four losses and won another game 1-0.
Nitro received even more bad news when freshman catcher Matt Jewell suffered a broken bone in his hand in the top of the first when Tate Brock's bat connected with his glove hand, resulting in a catcher's interference call. Jewell is expected to be out a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks.
"I thought we came to play,'' said Hurricane coach Brian Sutphin. "Riley threw the ball well and was constantly throwing strike one. He did a good job of staying on task and staying on plan.''
After that eventful first inning - in which Hurricane grabbed a quick 4-0 lead and Nitro had to juggle its lineup following Jewell's injury - little happened in the run column. The Redskins finished the game 1 of 12 with runners in scoring position (Adams' blast) and Nitro went 0 of 7.
Nitro's defense held the fort at several junctures as center fielder Ethan Clark chased down seven fly balls, including one off the bat of Ace Estep that seemed primed to drive in at least two runs. Clark made an over-the-shoulder catch on the dead run at the base of the outfield fence and Hurricane's Tate Brock was doubled off second for not tagging on the play. The Redskins were retired 10 times by flies to the outfield.
"Anytime you jump out on top like that,'' Sutphin said, "you want to keep putting pressure on and having good at-bats. I thought we kind of got away from that plan in the middle part of the game. We got guys on and got them over into scoring position, but then . . . well, it's hard to put pressure on a defense if you hit the ball in the air.
"I think we established that their center fielder can catch it. I never dreamed he'd get to that one ball, and that was a chance to kind of break it open.''
With Metz working his magic - he issued only three walks, rang up six called third strikes and allowed one unearned run - all of Clark's glovework went for naught.
"I'm not worried too much about stats as an individual,'' said Metz, who shaved his ERA to 0.61. "I'm worried about team wins and if we win, stats don't matter.