Trey Rugg authors 3-hit masterpiece

Marq Mitcham (file photo) -- Sterlington senior Trey Rugg held Neville to four base runners Monday night.

Trey Rugg threw a no-hitter against Kinder on March 24, but Monday night's outing against Neville may have been his masterpiece.

Facing just two batters over the minimum, Rugg allowed only four base runners — none of whom advanced past first base — in Sterlington's 3-0 triumph at Panther Park. Winning for the sixth time in seven decisions, the senior right-hander yielded three hits and struck out seven without issuing a free pass. Neville placed runners aboard in each of the first three innings, but was limited to one thereafter.

Andrew Cagle started the game with a base hit for the visiting Tigers, but was picked off five pitches later.

Sterlington manufactured the game's lone earned run in its first turn at bat when Reece Brooks led off with a base hit to left, advanced 90 feet on Seaver Sheets' groundout to first base and sprinted home on Braden Hough's opposite-field RBI single to right.

Todd Stewart singled up the middle with one down in the Neville second, but Rugg promptly retired the next two swingers on a popup to first baseman Brock Risinger and a whiff.

Sterlington added what proved to be a pair of insurance markers in its half of the second. Both runs were unearned.

Clay Benson took a one-out walk and Harrison Womack was safe on an error. Both runners were awarded a bag on a balk, leaving runners at second and third. Kyle Elee then drew a free ride to load the bases. Back to the top of the chain, Brooks hit into a force play at second to drive in Benson. Womack was sent home on a second balk, putting the Panthers in command 3-0.

It was effectively over.

Ely McPherson reached on a one-out error in the Neville third, but Rugg sat down eight in a row from there.

McPherson started the Neville sixth with a base hit before Hough threw out pinch runner Brennan Surles on an attempted steal.

Finishing with a flourish, Rugg struck out three of the Tigers' final five batters without allowing a ball to depart the infield.

Neither team had an extra base hit. Womack went 2-for-2 and scored a run to highlight the Panthers' six-hit outing, and Brooks, Hough, Davis Johnson and Risinger furnished base bumps.

Cagle, Stewart and McPherson singled for the Tigers (9-9).

Neville starter West Roberson was charged with three runs (one earned) on four hits, while striking out six and walking three. Braeden Brown finished up with two scoreless innings.

Winners of six straight, the Panthers (17-2) wrap up a brief two-game homestand vs. Oak Grove on Tuesday at 5 p.m.