Hillsboro splits baseball opener with Nickerson

Hillsboro scored eight runs in the first two innings, then made it stand for a 9-6 win over Nickerson and a split of the Trojans? season-opening doubleheader Friday at Memorial Field.

Nickerson rallied late to beat Hillsboro in Game 1, 11-8.

In the nightcap, Aaron Bina and Dylan Delk stroked RBI doubles to fuel a five-run first inning. Bina followed that with a two-run home run in the second inning as Hillsboro added three more scores for an 8-1 lead.

Delk (1-0) did his part on the mound, holding the Panthers to four runs (three earned) in 61?3 innings. He struck out three and walked four while allowing seven hits. Lucas Sinclair got the final two outs to secure the win.

In the opener, Nickerson took a 3-0 lead in the second inning against Trojan starter Kale Arnold.

But Arnold helped his own cause with a two-run double in the bottom of the inning as the Trojans took the lead with five runs against the Panthers? Hector Rodriguez. Sinclair and Derek Kelsey contributed RBI singles.

A solo home run by Ben Gardner in the fifth gave the Trojans a 6-4 advantage.

When Arnold left the game after four innings because of pitch count, Nickerson narrowed the lead to 6-5 with a run in the sixth against Luke Moore, then broke loose for five runs in the seventh against a pitching combination of Moore, Gardner, who absorbed the loss, and Bina.

Delk?s two-run single that drove home Kelsey and Bina in the bottom of the seventh pulled the Trojans to within 11-8, but reliever Quintin Crandell retired the next three Trojans?two by strikeout?to end the game.

Even with 17 runs and 17 hits for the doubleheader, coach Doug Dick had mixed feelings about his team?s batting.

?We hit the ball hard both games, but were inconsistent at the plate overall,? he said. ?I was pleased with the overall effort in both games and saw some good plays on defense.?

Dick also had mixed reviews regarding his team?s pitching.

?Both starters did a decent job of keeping the batters guessing, but had too many walks and hit batters,? he said. ?Given the fact there were so many new faces in places, and our pitching was average at best, I?m happy to get a split with Nickerson.

Coming?The Trojans? scheduled opener against Little River March 29 was postponed to April 26 because of wet grounds.

This week, Hillsboro?s only games are scheduled for King?man on Friday. Next Tuesday, the Trojans travel to Lyons. Action begins at 4:30 p.m. each day.

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