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Freshman powers Nashville to semis

NASHVILLE -- Nashville started four seniors against old foe Central Arkansas Christian on Friday, but it was a freshman who delivered the key blows that put a wrap on the Mustangs' season.

Ty Gordon hit a pair of two-run home runs, the latter of which during a four-run fifth inning, to push Nashville to a 7-1 victory during the second round of the Class 4A state baseball tournament in front of a boisterous home crowd at Wilson Park.

The Scrappers, who've won 11 of their past 12 games, will take on conference rival Malvern, a 6-1 winner over Baptist Prep, today at noon in the semifinals. Nashville (28-5) beat the Leopards in their previous meeting, 16-6, during the district tournament April 27.

Aaron Lott, Colton Patterson, Chris Willard and Jaydon Hostetler all recorded hits for the Scrappers, who made the most out of their six hits. The defending champions also got a dominant performance on the mound from pitcher Tristen Jamison. Aside from serving up a towering home run to Jacob Hale in the third inning, the junior avoided serious trouble by giving up 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6 in a complete game.

Patterson opened the game with a single and later scored on Jamison's grounder to give the Scrappers a 1-0 lead. Hale tied it at 1-1 when he sent Jamison's 2-0 pitch high over the right-center field wall before Gordon answered with a shot of his own. Willard drew a walk and Gordon followed with an opposite-field home run that nearly hit the scoreboard in left field. That duo would respond again in the fifth when Willard's two-run double pushed Nashville's cushion to 5-1, and Gordon followed with another home run that was almost identical to his first.

The Mustangs had trouble mustering any offense after Hale's home run. CAC (19-9) had just one runner advance past second base from the third inning on. The Mustangs did get back-to-back hits from Davis Gatling and Rhett James in the fourth but couldn't cash in. Jamison retired eight batters in a row between the fifth and seventh innings before getting Hale to hit into a game-ending ground out.

Levi Smith received the loss for CAC after giving up 6 runs on 5 hits with 5 strikeouts in 5 innings. James finished with two of the Mustangs' four hits.

Sports on 05/12/2018

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