The Pilots only scored two runs on five hits in Monday’s season opener against Holly Springs, but only needed two innings to match those totals to put away the game against the Tobs.
Peninsula (2-0) defeated Wilson (0-2) 6-3 as Pilots freshman lefty Jay Cassady allowed just one run in six innings of work — the second outing in a row from the pitching staff’s starters.
“When I take the mound, I’ve been doing this a long time, so I just have a lot of trust in myself as a pitcher,” Cassady said. “I’m thinking I’m going to attack this hitter, I’m going to challenge him and if he gets me I tip my cap. But, I’m going to attack and pitch the way I want to pitch.”
The Pilots jumped on Wilson junior lefty Trevor Nicholson for a pair of hits in the first inning.
Redshirt freshman first baseman Justin Starke started the inning with a walk, advancing to second on a wild pitch. He scored the game’s first run on a laced single to left field from sophomore third baseman Mason Dunaway — his first hit of the season.
Starke is tied atop the team with a .500 batting average after the Pilots’ first two games of the season.
“Their starter was struggling locating his secondary pitch, so we were able to kind of sit on his fastball,” head coach Hank Morgan said. “It was what we talked about. They simplified, hit the ball hard, you know, not trying to hit it out the ballpark and I think it helped us keep some pressure on them.”
Peninsula had back-to-back hits from redshirt sophomore right fielder Trevon Dabney and junior second baseman Ethan Hunter to lead off the bottom of the second.
Dabney scored on a sacrifice fly out to center field from redshirt freshman center fielder Trey Morgan — the Virginia Military Institute outfielder’s first RBI of the 2021 campaign.
After Hunter trotted home on a wild pitch, redshirt freshman designated hitter Alden Mathes hit a two-out double to right, plating Dunaway.
Mathes followed up Monday’s 2-for-3 performance with another 2-for-5 effort, collecting his second RBI of the year.
Peninsula wasn’t done there, though.
In the third, Hunter collected his second hit of the night on a high infield chopper that just squeaked underneath Tobs sophomore second baseman Tommy Gibson’s glove and into shallow center to extend to a commanding 6-1 lead.
“A new pitcher came in and I figured he was going to throw me off-speed because they had a base open,” Hunter said. “He threw me a first-pitch slider and I just wanted to put it in play any way I could on the ground, score a run and luckily it got through.”
Cassady trotted out with his second lead in the game in the top of the fourth inning and cruised throughout the rest of his six-inning start.
After allowing an unearned run in the top of the second, Cassady battled back and retired 12 of the final 13 Tobs hitters — ending on an eight-batter streak — finishing with 61 of his 82 pitches in the strike zone.
“Jay Cassady’s a true freshman from Christopher Newport, Division III school, and I looked out there tonight and I’m like, ‘Man, they got themselves a real good player right there,’” Morgan said. “He mixed his breaking ball in there great.”
Peninsula will play its first road game of the season Thursday when it makes the 3 ½ drive to Holly Springs, North Carolina to take on the Salamanders at Ting Stadium. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.