Titans cage Cougars

McDowell's Canaan Silver slides into third safely during a recent game. Silver picked up the win on the mound as the Titans routed the Asheville Cougars 10-1 Tuesday.

Josh Davis/blessmysoulphotography.com

It seems a week at the beach agreed with the McDowell Titans.

McDowell, who played a couple games on the coast during spring break, returned to Mountain Athletic 4A/3A Conference play with a dominating 10-1 victory over the Asheville Cougars Tuesday night.

As usual, it all started on the mound for the Titans (7-2 MAC 4A/3A, 11-6 overall), where left-hander Canaan Silver overpowered the Cougars. Silver allowed a run in the top of the first, and the Cougars didn’t get a sniff the rest of the way.

Silver (5-1) allowed five hits and the lone Asheville run in six innings of work. He walked only one and struck out 12, and now has 84 punch-outs in 44 innings of work, an average of 1.91 per inning. Silver struck out the side in the third and had at least two in every other frame except the first.

Zach Franklin struck out the side in the seventh, working his way around a hit and a walk.

Meanwhile, McDowell’s offense gave Silver and Franklin plenty of support, rapping out 11 hits, with six of them going for extra bases.

Koby Smith was one of four Titans with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs. Tyler Walker was also 2-for-3 with a double and a pair of runs driven in.

Leadoff man Nathan Watkins (BB) and Ryan Murdock (2B, RBI, BB, 2R) both went 2-for-3 as well.

Silver was 1-for-3 with an RBI triple and Dylan Poplin went 1-for-3 with a run-producing double. Sydney Pike was 1-for-4 with a double.

Asheville’s Eric Robinson had a two-out, RBI double off Silver in the first to give the Cougars a brief 1-0 lead, but that was essentially the final offensive highlight for the visitors.

The Titans answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the first. Murdock drew a one-out walk from Asheville starter Diaz Marchesin (4IP, 8H, 6R, 3K, 4BB), and Pike followed with a double to left. Koby Smith drove in both runners with a line-drive double to center field. The Titans led 2-1 and never looked back.

McDowell broke it open with a four-run fourth.

Koby Smith led off with a bunt single and Silver drove him in with a triple to right. Walker followed with a double to left, scoring courtesy runner Chase Justice to make it 4-1.

Later in the inning, Poplin and Murdock each delivered two-out, RBI doubles to stretch the lead to 6-1.

McDowell pushed four more runs across in the sixth.

Poplin led off with a walk, and Watkins and Murdoch followed with back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases. After Pike grounded into a fielder’s choice at the plate, both Watkins and Murdock scored on wild pitches.

Kell Smith then reached on an error in right field, and another run scored to make it 9-1. Walker’s RBI single later in the inning capped the rally.

The Titans travel to Owen Thursday (6 p.m. start) for a non-conference outing. McDowell is on the road at Asheville Friday (7 p.m.).