Mustangs punch ticket to 2A State baseball tourney

Monday, May 9, 2016

Buffalo Island Central gained its first state tournament berth since 2005 with a 3-1 upset victory over top seeded Walnut Ridge in first round action of the Class 2A North Regional Thursday at Marked Tree.

BIC got a strong pitching performance from left hander Brandon Towery, who fired a complete game six-hitter. "Brandon was just terrific today and our defense was really good. I am really proud of the kids," said BIC Coach Bill Taylor.

The Mustangs put single runs on the board in the first and second innings. Canon Walling singled and scored in the opening frame before Logan Harrison's two-out RBI hit gave BIC a 2-0 lead in the second. Towery helped his own cause with a bases loaded hit in the sixth, pushing the Mustang advantage to 3-0. Walnut Ridge finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth when Collin Phillips ripped a single, but the Bobcats left the tying runs on base and the Mustangs held a 3-1 edge headng into the final inning. Towery shut down Walnut Ridge in the seventh and the Mustangs celebrated a state tournament berth.

BIC advanced to the championship round with a 12-4 victory over Pangburn in Friday's semifinals. The Mustangs strung together five hits in the opening inning, including RBI singles from Brice and Brandon Towery to take a 2-0 lead. Evan Sanders, Andrew McFarlin and Chayse Carmichael all had first inning hits. Brice Towery singled in the third and later scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Carmichael. A balk gave BIC a 4-0 lead after three innings of play. BIC tacked on another run in the fourth when McFarlin singled and rode home on Brice Towery's two-out RBI double.

Pangburn scored a run in the fourth to cut the lead to 5-1 and added three more runs in the sixth to pull to within 5-4 entering the final inning of play. The Mustangs blew the game open in the top of the seventh, scoring seven times. Harrison had an RBI single while Sanders and Brandon Towery contributed two-run base hits.

BIC will open state tournament play Thursday against the third seed from the East, Ouachita. Game time is 12:30 at Parkers Chapel.

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