The Port Neches-Groves baseball team put itself in position to win Thursday’s UIL Region III-5A bi-district playoff series opener, but it was the Friendswood Mustangs who came away with a 2-1 victory.
The series resumes at 7 p.m. Friday in Crosby with Game 2. If the Indians win, they’ll return to Crosby for a Game 3 at 7 p.m. Saturday.
On Thursday, the Indians (16-13-1) struggled with Mustangs ace Bradley Wilcott, who allowed just one run through 6.1 innings for the Mustangs (16-9).
But, PN-G put a scare into Wilcott and the Mustangs in the top of the seventh inning.
After striking out Keaton Richard, Wilcott walked Cade Billeaud, Carson Roccaforte and Dean Guidry in succession to load the bases.
Mustangs head coach Cory Benavides decided to bring in relief pitcher Max Mims, who struck out Ryan Sosa and Khristian Curtis to close out the game.
Friendswood’s Devon Andrews scored both of the Mustangs’ runs. He homered to left field in the first inning off Curtis, who allowed two runs in four innings. Curtis was relieved by Austin Schaper, who threw two shutout innings.
In the third inning, the Mustangs loaded the bases, but they scored only one run — when Andrews came home on a wild pitch.
PN-G scored its lone run when Schaper drove home Blake Bost with an RBI single. The Indians built some momentum there, but Bost was called out after leading at first base, followed by a Reece Mancera strikeout.
PN-G also left two runners on base in the second inning. In the fifth, Guidry hit a two-out single, and Sosa hit a hard line drive, only to be denied by a clutch catch by Friendswood’s first baseman.