The Cougar baseball team picked up a much-needed win on Tuesday evening at Don Lee Field, beating visiting McLean County 7-1.
Braxton Hodges pitched all seven innings for the Cougars (3-7) to earn the win. The sophomore right-hander allowed just one earned run on four hits. He struck out three and walked no one. Hodges had a two-hit shutout working until the bottom of the seventh when a double and a one-out single plated the only McLean County run.
The Cougars scored all they would need with a five-run first-inning when they sent 10 batters to the plate. Shortstop Hunter Young led off with a line-drive single to right, then stole second base. Second-baseman Landon Nichols walked before third-baseman Hunter Shiarella popped up for the first out.
Jack Davis followed with a single to left that plated Young with the first Cougar run and sent Nichols to third. Davis was able to motor into second on the throw to third.
Catcher Parker Cain then drove in both runners with a double to the fence in left field. Cain was replaced oln the base paths by Zac Johnson, who was tagged ou on a run-down play between second and third following a ground ball from Hodges. Hodges was able to reach second during the run-down.
Jacob Vincent hit a little nubber down the first-base line that was booted by McLean starting pitcher Ethan Hampton, leaving runners at first and third. Hodges then came home to make it 5-0 when Riley Mudd’s grounder went under the glove of third-baseman Peyton Caraway.
The Cougars missed a golden opportunity to add to their lead when they loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning, but Cain hit into a 1-2-3 double play before Hodges grounded out to end the inning.
Grayson County did add another run in the third. With one out, Mudd singled up the middle then scored on a double to the wall in right-center by Chandler England.
A two-out walk to Cain and a double by Hodges put runners at second and third in the fourth inning, but Vincent grounded out to end that threat.
The Cougars added their final run in the sixth. Davis walked leading off and went to second when a Cain ground ball up the middle was booted for an error. Hodges grounded out, but both runners were able to advance a base. Vincent then grounded a ball up the middle for an RBI single to make it 7-0.
McLean scored their only run in their final at bat. Caraway led off with a double to right-center, then scored on a single by Cable Wilson. McLean later put runners at second and third with two outs, but Hodges got Landon Adelman to ground out to end the game.
Reach Don Brown at 259-9622, ext. 2016.