By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
With snow on the track around the backstop and icicles hanging from the protective netting of the grandstand, the Princeton Tigers welcomed the George Washington Patriots to Hunnicutt Field, Friday afternoon for the Tigers’ 2013 home opener.
After spotting the defending state champion Tigers a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the second, GW scored nine unanswered runs to claim an 11-4 Mountain State Athletic Conference win.
The visitors scored in the top of the first only to see Princeton answer their run and then some.
Bryson Allan tripled to lead off the game for the Tigers and raced home on Ian Southcott’s ground out to short, tying the game at one. Later in the inning Chris Otey singled, Billy Jack Varney walked and Will Hickman singled home Otey. Nick Janutolo aided his own cause when he hit into an error that scored Varney to make it 3-1.
George Washington answered with a single run in the second to make it 3-2 before Princeton scored again in the bottom of the frame. Andrew Wilson walked, moved to second on a ground out and then scored on Southcott’s single.
That would prove to be all the scoring for Princeton as George Washington’s Jeff Wong held the Tigers off the board the rest of the contest.
The Patriots took the lead for good in the top of the third scoring three times. GW scored a single run in the fifth. In the sixth Wong aided his cause with a bases loaded, bases clearing double off the fence in right.
The Patriots then added two in the seventh to round out the scoring.
Southcott led Princeton with two hits.
Josh Perry had a triple in the sixth for Princeton but was stranded.
Tigers’ starting pitcher Janutolo suffered the loss for Princeton.
“We put the bat on the ball well the last three games,” said Princeton coach Josh Wilburn. “It’s really coming down to making the routine plays and pitching. We’re coming back with a relatively young pitching staff, Janutolo is a senior, but right now we are struggling to throw strikes consistently low in the zone.
“We probably faced one of the best pitchers in the conference today. We stuck in the ballgame for about half the game, but it came down to timely hitting on their part and us not making the routine plays. The errors didn’t help.”
Wong, a sophomore, worked the complete game and earned the victory.
Princeton is now 1-2 on the season and the Tigers are back on the diamond today, hosting Independence. The JV game will start at 2 p.m. with the varsity game following.
At Hunnicutt Field
George Washington………...................113 013 2 — 11
Princeton……………………..................310 000 0 — 4