TURNER — Given the windy, raw conditions Monday, the question had to be asked — how did Erskine pitcher Ryan Rodrigue maintain such good control and stymie Leavitt for 6 1/3 innings?

Rodrigue pressed his index finger to his neck to assure the inquisitor that pine tar wasn’t part of his repertoire.

“I wasn’t going to my neck at all. I don’t know if it would have blended in,” he said.

Rodrigue’s grip on the baseball and the strike zone kept the Hornets in check in a 10-2 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference win, the Eagles’ first of the season.

Rodrigue scattered four hits and two walks while fanning four and allowing a pair of earned runs.

“I felt like I was in control. Just trying to throw strikes,” Rodrigue said. “I was mostly throwing fastballs. I threw a curve every once in a while to change up the speeds on them.”

“I didn’t mind our approaches at the plate. I thought we squared-up some balls and hit it right at people,” Leavitt coach Chris Cifelli said. “But you can’t walk people and you certainly can’t make errors. They capitalized on those opportunities and we didn’t.”

Four Leavitt errors led to eight unearned runs and spoiled what was otherwise a solid outing by Hornets starter Levi Morin (5 2/3 IP, 5H, 1 ER, 2 K, 3 BB). So did Erskine second baseman Tyler Bailey, who went 4-for-5 with a double and two runs driven in.

“He sees it pretty well,” Erskine coach Mark Bailey said. “If we can keep him in the strike zone… He chased a couple a little high. But he does find the middle of the baseball.”

Bailey was the key to the Eagles (1-1) giving Rodrigue an early four-run cushion. He reached on a one-out single in the first, moved to third on Rodrigue’s base hit and scored on Jared Gartley’s ground out to third.

In the second, a walk, single and bobble at shortstop loaded the bases. After Zack Isbell grounded into a force out at third to make it 2-0, Bailey looped a single over second base, eluding the dive of a retreating Nate Coombs. That drove in one run, and the throw from center field to the plate bounced out of play to plate another.

Rodrigue set the Hornets (1-1) down in order in the first two innings. A pair of walks in the third led to Leavitt’s first run on its first hit, Coombs’ two-out single to center. 

That was the only reminder Rodrigue needed to throw strikes. He didn’t walk another batter after that.

“That’s his strength is his control,” Mark Bailey said. “We’ve only had him out there a couple of times but he’s been painting the corners all spring.”

The Eagles committed their only two errors with one out in the fourth, but Rodrigue got out of the jam by starting a crisp 1-5-3 double play.

Morin settled down through the middle innings but found himself in trouble again on a throwing error to start the sixth. Mark Buzzell made it 5-1 with an RBI single and chased Morin in favor of reliever Julian Kirouac, who allowed a walk, single and walk to plate another run.

Erskine added four more unearned runs in the seventh on a two-run single by Isbell and an RBI double by Bailey.

Sam Godfrey, Clay Rowland and Chad Morin (double) had the other hits for Leavitt.

“It’s still early,” said Cifelli, whose team won its season-opener against Morse last Friday. “We took our first infield on our home field today, so I think it will get better. I’m actually kind of happy where we’re at.”


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