Wolfpack win rare two-state matchup

The pitching matchup everyone wanted to see didn't materialize and, instead, the game hinged on less-heralded relievers.

Greenbrier's bullpen delivered, and North Augusta was victimized by a freshman mistake as the Wolfpack remained undefeated with a 5-2 win at Lake Olmstead Stadium on Monday.

North Augusta jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Greenbrier starter Shane Nelson after the top of the first. Nelson left after the first inning with arm soreness, and the Wolfpack bullpen shut down the Yellow Jackets the rest of the way.

"You're playing a quality ball club," North Augusta coach Vic Radcliff said. "Some teams you see will fold. They kept playing."

Yellow Jackets pitcher Marty Gantt delivered as advertised, pitching his expected two innings, allowing a run. Greenbrier lefty Nolan Belcher, though, started in center field after pitching a complete game Saturday.

The pair are billed as two of the best pitchers in the area, and when the schedules were released last summer, both teams' coaches agreed to pitch their aces if the rotation worked out.

But Belcher pitched seven innings against Carrolton on Saturday, and Greenbrier coach Rodney Holder decided to save his best arm for the start of region play this week.

Belcher and Gantt had their chance to face each other during the game's first at-bat. Belcher doubled and later came around to score.

"I was trying to swing early in the count," Belcher said. "I didn't want to wait around for the slider."

North Augusta freshman Taylor Guererrie balked in a run in the fifth and then allowed consecutive RBI doubles as the Wolfpack pulled away.

With runners on second and third, Guererrie stepped off the rubber late in his delivery. The balk wasn't signaled until Holder walked out to discuss the move with umpires. Wolfpack runner Pat McGowan was sent home for the go-ahead run, and a rattled Guererrie allowed the consecutive doubles.

"It was a smooth move, I'll give him that," Holder said. "Apparently, no one else saw it."

Radcliff recognized the balk and sat in the dugout hoping he was alone in his assessment. But he had no problem with the call.

"When you see it, you got to bring it to their attention," Radcliff said. "He's a freshman. It's a lesson learned."

Gantt left the game with a one-run lead. But Yellow Jackets junior Taylor Rozier gave up the tying run the third, followed by Guererrie's troubles.

Greenbrier's relievers fared much better.

Junior right-hander Ben Turner pitched four innings without allowing a run and forced two double plays. And the Wolfpack's Mitchell Knox pitched the final two without allowing a hit.

Both teams came away impressed with the venue.

"I wish we could play every game here," Gantt said.

Reach Stephen Fastenau at (706) 863-6165 ext. 116 or stephen.fastenau@augustachronicle.com.

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