Air Force Wins 2-0 Pitchers' Duel Against Charleston Southern Friday
Feb. 27, 2009
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Air Force baseball Junior Alex Truesdale and freshman Aaron Kurcz combined to toss a 2-0 shutout win over Charleston Southern Friday afternoon at Buccaneer Ballpark. The win improved the Falcons to 2-2 and dropped the Buccaneers to 3-3.
This was Truesdale and Kurcz's second combined shutout on the season, as Air Force blanked Navy, 2-0, to open the season last Friday. Truesdale (2-0) pitched eight innings, allowing eight hits, while striking out seven. Kurcz came into another tight spot in the ninth, but retired all three batters faced to pick up his second save of the season.
Truesdale has be unscored upon in 15.2 innings pitched so far this season and has pitched 20.2 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to the 2008 season. Kurcz has been unscored upon in his three appearances this year.
Despite being held to five hits, the Falcon offense did just enough to pick up the win. Matt Alexander and Jack Lupo, Air Force's three-four hitters in the lineup, combined for all five hits. Alexander went 3-for-4 and Lupo 2-for-4.
With Truesdale and Charleston Southern starter Anthony Markham locked into a classic pitchers' duel, the first run of the game did not come until the sixth inning. Alexander singled to get on base and then came around to score on a double by Lupo, combined with an error by the left fielder, to put the Falcons up one.
Air Force added an insurance run in the eighth by taking advantage of another CSU miscue. K.J. Randhawa drew a walk and then reached second on a botched pickoff attempt. Alexander then made the Buccaneers pay with an RBI-single to score Randhawa.
Charleston Southern made things interesting in the eighth and ninth innings, but Truesdale and Kurcz managed to pitcher their way out of jams.
After Truesdale quickly retired the first two batters in the eighth, the Buccaneers hit back-to-back singles to put two runners on. The righty from Austin, Texas, then induced a fielder's choice ground out to second to get out of the eighth.
The ninth was just as intense as Charleston Southern's Patrick Dolan doubled to lead off the inning. Kurcz then relieved Truesdale and slammed the door shut on the Bucs by inducing a groundout and consecutive strike outs, including the final batter looking, to end the game.
The loss by Charleston Southern overshadowed a strong outing by Markham (0-2), who went seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out nine. Kory Morian had three hits and Nick Chinners two hits to lead the Buccaneer offense.
Air Force returns to action tomorrow vs. CSU with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. EST.