Methodist edges Ferrum in USA South Tournament opener

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BURLINGTON, N.C. – A pair of stellar pitching performances highlighted the 2012 USA South Baseball Tournament opener on Thursday morning, as conference Pitcher of the Year Chris Perry led No. 4 seed Methodist past No. 5 seed Ferrum, 2-0. Perry struck out 13 in a complete-game shutout, advancing the Monarchs to Friday's second round matchup on Friday, April 13, at 1:30 pm.

Methodist improves to 3-0 against Ferrum this season, after earning a regular season series sweep of the Panthers earlier.

Perry's record improves to 6-1 this season with his fourth complete game and second solo shutout of the season. He scattered five singles and escaped the only real threat Ferrum posed in the fifth inning. The Panthers had runners at the corners with nobody out, but Perry struck out Peter Byron and Jason Parker before getting Taryn Hayden to ground out to first base. Ferrum had two on in the top of the eighth, but Perry got a strikeout and a flyout to end the inning, and then struck out the side in the ninth to hold the shutout.

On the other side of the field, Chris Walker was nearly as good, allowing just five hits in the complete game loss. He struck out five, but was saddled with the loss when Methodist scored a pair of unearned runs in the second inning.

With two outs and the bases loaded in the second, Methodist leadoff hitter Matt Quick stepped in and popped up to the second baseman. The ball was dropped, though, and both runs came around to score.

The score would hold throughout, as both teams scattered a combined ten singles in the game. Hayden and Wes Walker each had two hits on the day for Ferrum, while five different players had hits for the Monarchs.

Methodist will advance to play top-seeded Christopher Newport on Friday at 1:30 pm. Ferrum will also play CNU in their next game, as the Panthers will need to win to remain in the double elimination tournament in Thursday's 8 pm game.