GREENUP -- Neoga's strength early in the 2013 campaign has been its pitching, from strong performances from Riley Walk to Tyler Romack. While the pitching was fine Friday against Cumberland, it was the bats that carried the Indians to a 15-3 win over the Pirates in five innings. "This is the first game all year we've hit up and down the lineup," said Neoga coach Ted Kerner. "It's been a struggle the last two or three games getting quality at-bats."The top of the order got to work early, with Michael Baker crushing a three-run homer early in the first inning to give Neoga a 3-0 lead. Starting pitcher Cody Hornbeck retired the next batter, but walked the bases loaded, setting up a two-run single by Tim Yurs and a one-run single by Zach Monroe. That was it for Hornbeck, as he was pulled for Spencer Kuhn. "We weren't hitting spots. We were rushing, and we couldn't locate," said Cumberland coach Jim Miller. That was the tune of it. Cumberland answered with three in the bottom of the first on a two-run double by Tyler Godden and an RBI single by Kyle Swingler.It looked like the game might become a slugfest from there. Neoga got four more in the top of the second off a two-run single by Briar True and back-to-back RBI doubles by Kenton Albin and Yurs. Up 10-3, Michael Baker walked the opening batter and was pulled in favor of Guy Walk. That put an end to the Cumberland offense, as he tossed four shutout innings from there. "Michael is one of our guys, and he couldn't find the strike zone," Guy is probably our best strike thrower. He came in and did a fantastic job for us.After a long week of games, the Pirates didn't make an adjustment from the hard-tossing Baker to the strike-throwing Walk. "He was hitting his spots, and we just never adjustments. You've got to learn to adjust, adapt and overcome. I thought we were mentally weary."Neoga pushed the lead to 10 in the third with RBIs by Michael Baker and True, and the third run scored via an error.The next three half innings were scoreless, and Yurs knocked in two more runners in the fifth with his second double of the game. Walk got into some trouble in the fifth, but the Indians escaped with the 15-3 mercy-rule win. Yurs was 3-for-4 with a team-high five RBI out of the nine-hole in the order, which pleased Kerner. "Tim's been struggling a bit, he was our second hitter last year and led off to start the year," he said. "We moved him down to the bottom to break things up, and he had a fantastic game."Michael Baker was 4-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and four RBI. True knocked in three runs, while Monroe and Albin each drove in one. Godden went 1-for-3 with two RBI, Blayke Cutts was 2-for-2 with a double and a walk, and Swingler was 1-for-2 with an RBI. Walk struck out five, and allowed five hits and one walk in four innings. Hornbeck took the loss, giving up six runs on four hits while walking six in 0.2 innings. Cumberland hosts Flora Monday in Little Illini Conference action, while Neoga (5-2) heads on the road for a doubleheader against Tri-County.
Neoga 15, Cumberland 3 (F/5)Neoga 643 02 15 11 1Cumberland 300 00 3 8 4WP - G. Walk LP - Hornbeck
Neoga: R. Walk (3-4, 2B), Monroe (1-2, RBI, 3 BB), M. Baker (4-4, HR, 2 2B, 4 RBI), True (2-2, 3 RBI, 2 BB), Albin (1-3, RBI, 2B), Yurs (3-4, 2 2B, 5 RBI)Cumberland: Poe (1-2, BB), Cutts (2-2, 2B), Godden (1-3, 2B, 2 RBI), Swingler (1-2, RBI)