TARBORO — Tarboro’s River Bandits pushed across single runs in the first and third innings, then plated three more in the seventh to take a 5-1 win Thursday night over the Greenbrier Knights at historic Municipal Stadium.
The Bandits, now 10-4 on the season, managed six hits off three Knights pitchers while taking advantage of four walks and a hit batter to grab the win as starter Zach Mallia (UNC-Greensboro) outdueled MLB draft prospect Hunter Perdue (Florida State) for the win as scouts were in the stands with radar guns.
“He’s beaten us twice before,” Bandits head coach Vince Fondacaro said after the game. “I told them (Bandits) that he’s going to be drafted in a couple of weeks … you’ve got to beat him sometime.”
His team obviously got the message.
With a major league scout in the stands, Will Smith (Tennessee-Martin) led off with a walk and immediately put pressure on Perdue by stealing both second and third. It was the first of three walks by Smith, who was also hit by a pitch.
After a Mallia strikeout, Ben Jones (Mineral Area College) singled to drive in Smith with the game’s first run.
Perdue issued another walk but got out of the inning with a strikeout and groundout to first.
Smith again led off in the Tarboro third and was hit by a pitch by Perdue before Mallia doubled into the right-field corner. Smith was on the move as soon as the bat hit the ball and rounded the bases, scoring without a play at the plate.
The Bandits touched Perdue for another hit, this one by Levis Aguilar (Felician) in the sixth, just one batter before Perdue was pulled.
Greenbrier got on the board in the sixth when Warren Bailey (Bryant & Stratton) drove the ball to deep right-center and over the outstretched glove of Brantley Cutler (East Tennessee) for a double.
Bailey took third on a passed ball and scored Greenbrier’s lone run on a ground out to relief pitcher Graeme Carroll (Bucknell).
In the seventh, Tarboro added three runs on three hits as the Bandits roughed up reliever Aiden Foley (Randolph-Macon) and iced the game.
Cutler opened with a groundout to second before first baseman Andrew Casey (Pittsburgh) doubled in the left-field corner.
Smith then picked up his third walk and advanced on a throwing error by Foley. Mallia struck out for the second out before Jones and Fewell doubled, both to left, to end the scoring.
Mallia went 5 1/3 innings, allowing just the single run off three hits. He walked three, hit one batter and struck out six.
He was relieved by Carroll, who faced just three batters before giving way to Jonathan Peacock (NC Central) in the seventh, who was relieved by Lawson Russell (UT-Martin) in the ninth.
It was Martin’s first action of the season, as he just joined the squad this week.
Tarboro’s pitchers recorded 10 strikeouts while scattering three hits. They also forced nine ground-outs, including one double play, and eight flyouts.
Tarboro was on the road Friday night to play the Wilmington Sharks of the Coastal Plain League. The Bandits play a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday against Greenbrier, before taking off July 4. On Monday, the River Bandits play host to Greenbrier in a 7 p.m. start.