Camden Wicker got things started.
Dylan Jordan closed the door.
And now the Viera Hawks are 6-0.
On a night when Viera’s offense didn’t put up the kind of big numbers that have been customary so far this season, the Hawks got a big night from two of their star pitchers and beat the visiting Melbourne Bulldogs 4-2 Tuesday night in a Class 6A, District 8 baseball matchup at the USSSA Space Coast Complex.
Wicker and Jordan combined on a four-hitter with 13 strikeouts to help hand the Bulldogs (4-1) their first loss of the season.
It was just Round One in what figures to be another multi-game battle between the two rivals that will extend from the regular season into the district and regional playoffs.
Melbourne actually put a scare into the Hawks in the first inning as the Bulldogs opened the game with a single and an RBI double to take a 1-0 lead.
Wicker, however, was able to get out of the inning without further damage and allowed just one more hit (and an unearned run) in four innings of work. The Wofford College commit struck out seven.
Viera, which had won its previous four games by a combined score of 46-1, would tie the game in the bottom of the first on a bases loaded walk by Adriel Torres that scored Jack Malatino.
The Hawks then added three more in the second inning. Kyler Dwiggins led things off with a double to the right-center field gap, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground ball by Malatino.
Viera would then execute a perfect a hit-and-run with Luke Campbell singling and Malatino going all the way to third. Alex Sosa followed with an RBI double and Lucas Glendinning hit a slow roller that would allow Campbell cross the plate and make it a 4-1 game.
Jordan would come on to pitch the final three innings, allowing one hit while striking out six.
“I thought we pitched it pretty well,” acting Viera head coach Bob Doty said. “We didn’t give them a big inning. I thought that first inning was crucial for us to escape with Melbourne just getting the one run. They really came out swinging the bats well.
“We came out and swung it pretty good. I thought maybe we were going to score a couple more than the four, but we left some guys on base. We played well. Of course, our pitching is our strength.”
Jordan was coming off a strong performance against Eau Gallie, where the junior right-hander did not allow a hit and struck out 11 in a 12-0, five-inning victory for the Hawks.
The Florida State commit, one of three Viera pitchers who throw in the 90s (Wicker and Glendinning are the others), was dominant again Tuesday night.
“He was throwing the slider good tonight,” Doty said. “Melbourne, especially their top five or six hitters, are so geared for the fastball. They’re a very good hitting team. He kind of pitched a little backwards to them and I think it kind of threw them off. Of course, he’s got a great fastball, too.
“He did a really good job coming in and closing the door for us because we just weren’t putting up the runs we normally put up. They did a good job with the two pitchers who threw against us.”
Despite that, there were a few Hawks who had good nights at the plate. Malatino had two hits and scored twice. Sosa also had two hits – both doubles – and an RBI. Dwiggins also had a double and Campbell also had a hit for Viera.
The Hawks are scheduled to host Palm Bay on Thursday.
Outside of a tough season opener, where Viera scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to beat New Smyrna Beach 5-4, the Hawks have been dominating opponents this season.
“We’ve really put together some pretty good games,” Doty said. “This game, of course, was close tonight, but other than that I think we’ve 10-run ruled almost everybody. We’ve had some great pitching and our offense has been on fire. We’ve really been swinging the bats well.”