Starting pitcher Drew Bridges struck out 13 hitters and the Carthage baseball team won its 13th game of the season Tuesday with a 1-0 victory against Republic at Carl Lewton Stadium.
After the teams combined for three singles and put two runners in scoring position in the first inning, the game quickly turned into a pitchers' duel.
Bridges struck out the side in the top of the second, then forced the first two hitters he faced in the third inning to pop out on the infield. A third hitter reached on a single, but catcher Miles Goade threw him out at second base on a steal attempt.
Bridges worked around an infield single leading off the top of the fourth by striking out the next two hitters and then forcing another pop out. He struck out two more in the fifth.
Carthage was unable to do much more than Republic offensively, though, and the Tigers were struck out nine times in six innings.
Gabe Franklin, a junior, led off the first with an infield single, and advanced to third when senior Dalton Stafford singled up the middle.
Republic turned a double play to get out of the jam.
Senior Jordan Musser singled to lead off the second but was out at second on a fielder's choice. Goade drew a walk but the next two hitters truck out.
Carthage was able to scratch a run across in the third. Franklin led off with a walk, then stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. He scored when junior Johnny Mills grounded out.
"Gabe's done a great job in the leadoff spot for us," Carthage head coach Mike Godfrey said. "He's seeing a lot of pitches, getting on base and he did a great job getting a jump, then Mills does a good job getting us what we need, a groundball for a run there."
The 1-0 lead was enough for Bridges, who only ran into trouble in the sixth. After striking out the leadoff hitter, Republic hit consecutive singles over second base, and the next hitter worked a 3-1 count before Bridges came back and struck him out swinging. The next hitter popped out.
Bridges hit what appeared to be a triple to the left field corner in the bottom of the sixth, but the hit was ruled a ground rule double. Mills bunted him over to third, but two straight hitters flied out.
Bridges struck out the side in the seventh. The first hitter struck out swinging, and Bridges caught the last two looking.
"Drew threw a heck of a game, both kids threw a heck of a game," Godfrey said. "It was definitely a pitchers' duel. No room for error. That's a fun way to win a baseball game."
Page 2 of 2 - Bridges said it was his best start of the season
"I had all my pitches working after the first inning," he said. "I haven't had that all season."
And he didn't mind the pitchers' duel, either.
"It's just a bunch of fun," he said. "There's pressure, but I love pressure."
Carthage, still unbeaten and currently ranked fourth in Class 5 by the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association, is slated to play at rival Webb City on Thursday afternoon.
"It feels really good to be 13-0, and it feels good to be 3-0 in the conference," Godfrey said. "It's fun when you win for sure."
"It feels awesome," Bridges said.