Garner Nats end Wayne County Jets' bid for perfect run

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GOLDSBORO - The best news about having a winning streak end?

You get to start a new one.

And the Wayne County Jets can’t wait to forget about this one.

A trio of Division I signees from the Garner Nationals combined for 14 strikeouts and limited the Jets to a season-low two hits during a 12-1, mercy-rule victory at the Eastern Carolina Athletic Park on Monday evening.

Wayne County endured its first loss in seven outings this season.

“We saw three Division I commits,” said Jets head coach Adam Pate. “This was good for our guys so they can see some good arms and hopefully get that tolerance back up for good velocity. We didn’t have many balls hit well.”

Thomas Harrington, who is headed toward Campbell University, yielded a first-inning triple to University of Mount Olive’s Case Kermode. The right-hander sat down seven of the final eight batters he faced before UNC Asheville commit Caleb Cross toed the rubber to start the fourth inning.

The Jets’ Logan Merritt scratched out a one-out single against Cross, who retired the next five batters - four by strikeout.

Campbell commit Daniel Brown took over in the sixth. The hard-throwing lefty gave up a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Will Uzzell. Brown struck out the side to seal the outcome.

Pate described the game as exciting over the first two innings.

Garner notched two first-inning runs in a driving rain. 

Wayne County answered back with Kermode, who scored on a dropped third strike by the Nats’ catcher.

Jets right-hander Braeden Collins and Kermode combined for an inning-ending double play in the second.

“This is baseball,” said Pate, who pumped his fist after the play.

But Pate’s excitement and the Jets’ emotion disappeared in the third.

Brown cleared the diamond when he deposited a first-pitch strike over the right center-field fence. The yard shot turned the Nets’ 2-1 advantage into a 6-1 cushion. He finished the night 2-for-3 with a walk and five RBI.

“When a guy hits a ball like that, whether it’s going [out] or not, that’s what gets a rally busted wide open and momentum shifts very quickly…in a large amount,” Pate said.

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