Radigan, Cochran combine for one-hit shutout of Temple
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs and Temple Wildcats put on a pitcher’s duel for the ages Tuesday night at Bulldawg field as the Cats and Dawgs battled it out for District 12-6A positioning.
With Temple’s Aaron Wagaman, along with Cove’s Dekan Radigan and Russel Cochran dealing the dirt from the mound, it would be the little things to determine the winner of Tuesday’s eight-inning battle.
“Our pitchers threw well enough to keep us in it,” said Copperas Cove head coach Bryant Lopez after the win. “Wagaman is a pretty good pitcher and he’s going to end up among the top pitchers in this league. We were able to stay in it and keep it interesting and Dekan kept in close, too.”
With the game tied at 0-0 entering the bottom half of the eighth inning, a clutch at-bat by the Bulldawgs’ Caden Harris resulted in a free base after being plunked by the pitch of Temple’s Wagaman to lead off the inning.
Temple’s Bryan Williams then came in for relief after Wagaman reached his pitch count with 114 pitches.
A sacrifice bunt by Ben Izquierdo moved Harris to second base before a passed ball allowed Harris to get into scoring position and Jace Johnson made it count with a game-winning RBI Sacrifice fly to right field that scored Harris for the walk-off 1-0 win.
“My blood pressure was high the whole time,” said Lopez. “I congratulated them after the game because they just stayed in it.
“That was huge. Caden Harris had the best at-bat I’ve seen all year. He’s a sophomore and he’s young. We’ve kind of been hitting for him all year because he was a little inexperienced, but we’re at that point as a team where we decided to let him hit for himself. He got his first varsity base hit today and then had that amazing at-bat and fouled off a bunch of pitches off that actually knocked off the pitcher.”
Both teams threatened early as a single by Johnson and a walk by Russel Cochran put two Bulldawgs on base in the bottom of the first, but both were left stranded after a lineout to third.
The TemCats got even closer in the top half of the second inning when they loaded on a single by Wagaman, a walk by Isaac Ramos and a two-out hit batsman that allowed Nate Mitchell to reach. Radigan then halted the threat with his third strikeout of the inning.
Temple managed two more baserunners in the top of the third with walks by Williams and Wagaman, but a flyout to Travis Sanders at shortstop again halted the threat.
After their second-consecutive three up, three down inning, the Bulldawgs returned the favor with a 4-6-3 double play and another fly out to Sanders.
The Dawgs put two runners on in the bottom of the fourth with a walk by Sanders and Cochran reaching on an error, but three-consecutive outs closed the door.
Radigan got in trouble again in the top of the fifth when three-consecutive walks to Johnny Donoso, Williams, and Wagaman juiced the bases once again. A fly out to left field, however, left all three stranded and kept it a scoreless contest.
Wagaman again sat the Cove batters down in order in the bottom of the fifth, before the Copperas Cove closer Cochran came in and returned the favor as he struck out five of the next six batters over the sixth and seventh innings.
Another error allowed Cove’s David Cimmino to reach to lead off the bottom of the seventh, but two strikeouts and a pickoff closed the door on the Bulldawgs.
A two-out walk by Temple’s Isaiah Fach gave the Cats another opportunity to score, but a fly out to center field set up the Bulldawgs’ for the game-winning bottom half of the eighth.
Harris was 1 for 2 at the plate, along with the hit by pitch that led to the game-winning run, to lead the Bulldawgs while Johnson added 1 for 3 with an RBI and Radigan was 1 for 3. Sanders and Cochran also had walks.
Radigan picked up the win on the mound for the Bulldawgs. He allowed no runs on one hit while striking out five and walking eight in five innings of work. Cochran allowed no hits and no runs while striking out five and walking one in three innings of relief.
Wagaman mustered the only hit for the Cats as he went 1 for 2 with two walks. Donoso, Williams, Fach and Ramos also drew walks and Mitchell was hit a by a pitch to account for the 10 Temple baserunners.
Wagaman suffered the loss on the mound. He allowed one unearned run on three hits while striking out 12 and walking two in 7 1/3 innings.
The Bulldawgs (4th place at 4-3 in District 12-6A) closed the gap a little with Temple (5-2) Harker Heights (6-1) and Belton (6-1) holding down the top three spots.
The Bulldawgs host the first-place Tigers tonight at Bulldawg Field.
“I told the guys, we’re going to be on a run,” said Lopez. “I don’t care if it starts now, but it has to start soon because the days are numbered at some point. We just needed to play our hearts out tonight and try to get on a run. We play well at home and we’ve got Belton here on Friday.”