The McDowell Titans concluded their spring break road trip Tuesday afternoon, shutting out the South Brunswick Cougars 8-0 to secure a split in the two-game series down in Southport.
The win improves McDowell to 10-6 on the season heading into the final stretch of the regular season.
Pitching, for the second consecutive game, carried the Titans as winner Matt Smith and Zach Franklin combined for a one-hit shutout of the Cougars. Dalton Sellers accounted for the lone hit for South Brunswick, a two-out double in the second inning off Smith (3 IP, 1H, 3K).
Both teams were scoreless after three innings. McDowell broke the stalemate with a single run in the fourth. Tyler Walker (BB, SB) and Koby Smith both walked with one out. Later on with two outs, Matt Smith (1-for-2, RBI) helped his own cause by delivering an RBI single, scoring Walker from second and putting the Titans on the board 1-0.
From there, McDowell turned to Franklin, who finished out the last four innings by facing the minimum and tossing no-hit ball, striking out eight batters. Neither MHS pitcher walked a batter. The two hurlers combined to throw 59 strikes out of 79.
At the plate, the Titans added one more run in the sixth and then a four-run seventh to blow it open. That last frame started with a double from Matthew Moss (1-for-1, 2B), followed by a Landon Hensley (1-for-1) single. Dawson Beck (1-for-1, RBI) then singled to left, scoring Moss to increase the lead to 3-0.
Ben Ballew walked and D.J. Creson was hit by a pitch, making it 4-0. Kell Smith (1-for-3, RBI) continued the frame as he singled in a run and Zach Franklin (RBI) reached on catcher’s interference, accounting for the last two runs scored.
Leadoff man Nathan Watkins (1-for-4, SB) had the other Titan hit.
J.D. Bond took the loss for South Brunswick. He worked 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits. He struck out three and walked six. Seven base-on-balls and three errors didn’t help the Cougars’ cause.
McDowell returns to Mountain Athletic Conference play on Tuesday hosting Asheville (4:30 p.m. jayvees, 7 p.m. varsity start).