Tigers kick off FL/GA Battle with victory over Valdosta
VALDOSTA — He may not be a strikeout artist, but that’s OK.
One strikeout was he all needed, and it proved to be enough.
Nic Tyre cruised through batters one by one, giving up just three hits in a dominant complete game pitching performance Thursday night.
The Tigers’ senior pitcher was sound from the beginning and received run support from teammates in the second inning as Columbia defeated Valdosta 3-1 at Bazemore Field.
After a strong showing at Trinity Christian earlier this season, Tyre was poised to return to the mound for his second appearance.
And he didn’t disappoint.
“My mindset was just to do the same thing: Hit spots, locate well and let it take care of itself,” Tyre said. “We’re starting to come together. We’ve just got to keep working hard, and good things will happen.”
The Tigers only tallied four hits on the night, yet it would be enough to pick up their first road victory of the year.
Valdosta’s recent pitching woes became apparent early to the Tigers, and Columbia capitalized on it when the bases were loaded in the second inning.
After second baseman Tyson Ellis’ sacrifice fly, first baseman Jordan Culp knocked in a base-clearing RBI double to give his team a 3-0 advantage.
After taking the lead, Tyre continued to settle in — at one point retiring 11 straight batters.
The Columbia (2-4) slinger had a no-hitter in the works until Valdosta (3-3) left fielder Wesley Veal ended the discussion with an RBI single in the fifth inning.
“I was thinking about it a little bit,” Tyre said of his no-no. “I wasn’t worried about it.”
Valdosta’s only scored run, however, was only a small blemish on an overall impressive performance by Tyre.
It wouldn’t have been possible without some backup from his teammates.
“Defensively they played behind him,” Phillips said. “With a guy like Nic, you’ve got to play defense behind him. He’s not a strikeout guy. He’s a contact guy. [But] hats off to him. He played phenomenal.”
The Tigers avenged their 2013 loss to the Wildcats.
Columbia looks for its third-straight win when the team faces Colquitt County in Day 2 of the FL/GA Battle tonight.
Colquitt County edged Columbia last season.