Visiting Homer-Center mounted a big rally in the third inning and got a superb pitching effort from Austin Fairman to outlast Ligonier Valley, 8-3, in a pivotal Heritage Conference baseball game Thursday.
The Wildcats broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning when they scored six runs on five hits. Kolby Skultety fueled the rally with a two-run double, and Bryan Buzi and Matt Jones each added RBI singles.
Fairman struck out 10, walked none and allowed seven hits in a complete-game win.
“Austin pitched a heck of a game,” Homer-Center coach Scott Bauer said. “He was pounding the zone and keeping their batters off balance. We were ready to compete from the first pitch.”
Jones finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Andrew Gaydosh doubled in a run, and Nate Wilden singled twice and drove in a run.
Matt Ryan singled and doubled to lead Ligonier Valley. Ty Ferlin singled and doubled, and Rick Ross singled twice.
Homer-Center (9-5, 9-4) travels to Serra Catholic on Monday, and Ligonier Valley (10-4, 8-3) visits Marion Center on Tuesday.
BLAIRSVILLE 13-16, UNITED 1-2: Heritage Conference-leading Blairsville pounded United in five-inning, mercy-rule-shortened games in both ends of a doubleheader at WyoTech Park.
Anthony Faulk and Reed Ratkus each went 3-for-3, and Nick Scribe went 2-for-2 with two doubles to pace Blairsville in the first game, backing pitcher Josh Dougherty, who struck out seven and did not issue a walk for the complete-game win.
Faulk had a triple and a double, and Ratkus and Alex Tripodis added doubles for the Bobcats.
John Nau went 2-for-3 for United, and Kolt Jarvis cracked a double.
Blairsville kept rolling in the second game, plating eight runs in the first inning and six in the second. Scott Thompson went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, Faulk went 2-for-2 with three runs scored, and Lucas Palmer added two triples and three RBIs.
Bobby Thompson, John Distefano, Cameron Livingston, Colton McMillan and Scribe each had doubles for the Bobcats, and Faulk added another triple.
Scott Thompson earned the win, striking out eight without issuing a walk. United’s Tayler Sheriff struck out one and walked three.
Blairsville (11-1, 11-1) plays a doubleheader at Northern Cambria on Tuesday, and United (2-13) welcomes Conemaugh Valley today.
PENNS MANOR 11, PURCHASE LINE 1: Penns Manor’s Adam Tomayko fired a two-hitter, and the Comets scored the game’s final 11 runs to earn a win over visiting Purchase Line in a Heritage Conference game that was shortened to five innings due to the mercy rule.
The Comets trailed 1-0 before scoring five runs on five hits and three errors in the second inning.
Penns Manor plated four runs on four hits and two errors in the fourth to extend the lead to 10-1.
Tomayko struck out 10 and walked one. He also singled and scored a pair of runs.
Luke Popovich paced Penns Manor by going 2-for-2 with three runs scored and an RBI. Stephen Dumm went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI, Luke Ruddock singled twice and drove in two runs, and Mitch Hamilton doubled and scored twice.
Penns Manor (5-8) travels to Marion Center today, and Purchase Line (1-12) plays host to Homer-Center on Tuesday.