With two of the Southeastern Conference’s top pitchers facing off Friday at Lumberton, the Richmond baseball team had to be a little thrifty.
The Raiders’ offense was kept at bay by Lumberton pitcher Justice Sampson, who didn’t allow a hit, and instead relied on aggressive play following walks to get the deciding runs in a a 2-0 win.
The victory extended Richmond’s winning streak to 10 games. The Raiders are now 10-1 on the season and 3-0 in the SEC.
“We’re pretty aggressive on the bases, so when we got opportunities to get people on, we were able to get people over and get them in,” Richmond coach Ricky Young said. “I’m glad we were able to execute when we got people on base.”
Drew Butler drew two base on balls and scored on ground balls by Bradley Brown to account for both of Richmond’s runs. It was all the offensive support Nic Bullard needed in a three-hit shutout.
Butler’s execution started in his first at-bat. After drawing a walk, Butler advanced to third on a series of wild pitches before being knocked in by Brown.
The Butler-Brown duo was at it again in the fifth. Butler took another free pass with one out. After two stolen bases, he scored on another ground ball by Brown. The ball was hit to the second baseman, who attempted to throw Butler out at home. Butler slid in safely as Brown reached first on the fielder’s choice, keeping Sampson’s no-hitter intact.
It was the closest the Raiders came to a hit.
After being sidelined with a virus, Bullard started the game relatively shaky before finding his stride in the middle innings.
Lumberton’s first two hitters reached on errors, putting a runner in scoring position with no outs, but Bullard was able to escape the threat.
The Pirates got the game’s first hit in the third inning but couldn’t capitalize on it, and it wasn’t until the sixth that Lumberton got a runner back into scoring position.
Lumberton coach Paul Hodges said he wished his team would have capitalized in the first few innings.
“We had (Bullard) on the rocks early, but then he got hot in those middle innings,” Hodges said, noting that Bullard had six strikeouts during the three-inning stretch. “We let him get on a roll.”
Bullard finished with 10 strikeouts, one more than Sampson.
Young was pleased with how Bullard pitched.
“When he takes the mound, we expect to win, so we’re glad we did it,” he said.
Richmond will return to the diamond 7 p.m. Thursday when SEC rival Scotland visits Raider Field.