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'Toppers unable to slay Dragons in opener

Jeff Birchfield • Updated May 22, 2018 at 10:31 PM

MURFREESBORO — One game at a time.

It was the message which Science Hill baseball coach Ryan Edwards had for his team after the Hilltoppers lost 4-1 to Collierville on Tuesday in the first round of the TSSAA Class AAA state tournament.

Science Hill (35-8) had just two less hits than the Dragons (36-7), but the timing of them made the difference. The Hilltoppers tried to rally in the top of the sixth inning with bases loaded, but they left all three runners stranded. Then in the seventh, two balls hit deep to the outfield were recorded as outs.

"We were focused on that game, but we've got to go on to the next game," Edwards said. "You're going to have a tough opponent every game at the state tournament. ... We have pitchers hungry and ready to go. You just have to take it one game at a time."

It was good except for one inning on Tuesday evening as all four of Collierville's runs came in the fourth inning with a two-run double by Carson Rees. Science Hill's lone run came on a solo home run by David Bryant in the fourth inning, but they never could get going with runners on base to offer support to pitcher Garrett Wilkins, who gave up seven hits overall.

"We just couldn't get the timely hits, which they did as they got balls in there with runners in scoring position," Edwards said. "First of all, Garrett had a good outing and he left it all out there. He gave us a chance to win late in the game. We were in striking distance and I'm proud of how he battled."

Cade McCoy was 2-for-3 to lead Science Hill at the plate. Lead-off batter Ben Grable reached base twice with a single and a walk.

Junior Peyton Caltiri had eight strikeouts in the win for Collierville. Evan Chatlosh batted 2-for-3 with an RBI.

The Hilltoppers will take its one-game-at-a-time philosophy to the field Wednesday morning, facing Siegel in an elimination game at 11.

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