FRISCO — Drew Gooch pitched five shutout innings — getting out of a couple of jams along the way — and designated hitter Mat Ralph drove in four runs as Argyle defeated Princeton 10-0 in six innings in the Class 3A area playoffs at Frisco Heritage High School on Friday.
The teams agreed to play a one-game, neutral-site matchup instead of a best-of-three series.
Gooch got a nice cushion to work with in the second inning when the Eagles (25-7-1) put four runs on the board.
Cutter McDonald laced a one-out shot and advanced to second when Logan Teel couldn’t handle the base hit in left field. Ralph followed him up with the run-scoring double to put Argyle up 1-0.
Gooch drew a walk and Tyler Gibson dropped a sacrifice bunt towards third base, but Preston Cook’s throw to first was low and got by Brandon Talley, allowing Ralph to score while Gooch moved to third and Gibson to second.
Leadoff hitter Hunter Markwardt dropped a single in front of center fielder Garrett Autrey, and Gooch was able to trot home. On the throw from Autrey to second to try and tag out a hustling Markwardt, Gibson snuck home for the 4-0 advantage.
The Eagles would put up six late runs, but the man on the mound didn’t need much help on Friday.
Gooch escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the bottom of the first inning. After striking out Autrey to open the frame, Gooch walked Princeton strating pitcher Grant Gilbert, whom Gooch later baited into a rundown before Gilbert made his way back to first without damage. But on the next pitch, Princeton’s Gunner Starr singled between first and second base.
Talley then hit a chopper to Argyle’s Seth Green at second. Green fielded the ball cleanly but didn’t get the throw off to first base in time, and the bases were loaded with just one out. Gooch then struck out Teel and induced a groundout by Reese Schulz to escape the danger.
Gooch had 11 strikeouts and allowed just four singles in the game. He had to avoid losing the shutout again in the fifth.
Princeton’s Logan Bolsinger drew a leadoff walk for the Panthers (14-16-2). Following a strikeout, Autrey roped a single to right field and Bolsinger hustled over to third base. But Gooch struck out Gilbert and Starr to end the inning.
Ralph had a big night for the Eagles, going 3-for-4 with a double, four RBIs and a run scored. His two-run double in the sixth gave Argyle the 10-run lead it needed to eventually invoke the run-rule.
Cutter McDonald added a 3-for-4 showing with an RBI, two runs and a stolen base.
The Eagles will play the Sanger-Bonham winner in the 3A regionals.
Argyle 10, Princeton 0 (6)
Drew Gooch, Quinton Rockwell (6) and Ryley Balch; Grant Gilbert, Brandon Talley (6) and Reese Schulz, Gilbert (6). W — Gooch. L — Gilbert. 2B: A — Mat Ralph, Cutter McDonald.