WESLEY CHAPEL — The pitching matchup of the early baseball season was owned by Zach Drury. With a half-dozen scouts on hand Friday night, Drury struck out eight to lead Wiregrass Ranch over FSU signee Cobi Johnson and Mitchell 4-1.
Both aces were on pitch counts and threw just four innings each. But Drury’s impact wasn’t limited to the mound, as he collected two hits off Johnson while the Bulls took a 3-0 lead through two innings.
Wiregrass Ranch is a 6-0 under new coach and former FSU star Marshall McDougall.
“They are legit,” Mitchell coach Scot Wilcox said.
Drury struck out the maximum seven through 21/3 innings, and the lone hit against him was Erik Howard’s RBI single in the fourth.
Brother Austin Drury, who had two diving catches, made an incredible bid to rob Howard but his long run and dive attempt just missed.
Zach Drury (3-0) has pitched in all six games, starting three. Friday was actually his longest outing.
“We were going to keep him around 60 pitches. He did exactly what we planned,” McDougall said.
Drury ended up throwing 66. He walked two batters.
Austin Drury struck out two for the save, and Sean Cunius was sharp with two shutout innings between.
Johnson eventually found a groove, quickly setting down the last seven men he faced and striking out four. Wiregrass didn’t get a hit after the second inning, but the six the Bulls got early did the job.
Drury set off a four-hit sequence in the first inning that saw the Bulls go up 2-0. The North Florida signee hammered a double into the leftfield corner and scored when Mike Campoamor skipped a single through the right side. Campoamor went to second on the throw home, allowing him to score on Ryan Girard’s hit.
“We read (Johnson) early, noticed something in his mechanics,” Drury said. “We had to jump on the fastball because his curve is nasty.”
The last two runs were unearned. Drury went the other way to single in Richie Piazza in the second inning, and two Mitchell errors contributed a run in the fourth. Tyler Vanderveer pitched two perfect innings of relief for the Mustangs (3-3).
Shaky defense was not the only thing bothering Wilcox.
“There’s a lot of things going on right now that we’re not doing correctly,” he said. “I’m disappointed in the way we’re going about our business.”