Senior pitcher Cody Luttrell had another impressive outing on Wednesday, helping the Russell County Lakers (20-4, 5-1) come away with a 5-0 road victory against the Somerset Briar Jumpers (12-17).
Russell County pulled in front from the get-go, taking a 2-0 lead after the top of the first inning. Senior Nathan Lawson drove in sophomore Trace Stringer with no outs, and with the bases loaded, a grounder by senior Evan Hammond brought in junior Aidan Antle.
“[Scoring early runs] is a big plus because it helps your offense relax a little bit more and lets Cody know he’s got some runs to work with,” head coach David Rexroat said.
Lawson’s 10th home run of the season in the third inning put the Lakers up 3-0, and for good measure, RBI singles by senior Landon Walters and Stringer brought in Hammond and sophomore Bryce Cowell, respectively, to give the Lakers the 5-0 advantage.
“I always tell the kids, if you score five runs, that should be enough to be in any ball game,” Rexroat said.
Russell County had three players with multi-hit games: Stringer, Lawson, and Hammond. Senior Maxon Gosser and Walters rounded out the hitting for the Lakers to give the team eight for the game.
Luttrell had a no-hitter until the seventh inning, when Somerset was able to hit two singles with only one out left to end the game, although Luttrell did end it against the next batter with a strikeout.
Luttrell picked up the complete game win, striking out 17 Briar Jumper batters.
The performance was a welcome one for Luttrell after struggling in an early-season matchup against Somerset.
In that game on March 22, Luttrell pitched 1.2 innings and allowed four hits and six runs (one earned), with three walks and two strikeouts.
Luttrell has been on a tear ever since. In his six starts since March 22, he’s gone 6-0, allowed only four runs and recorded 79 strikeouts, including five straight games with double-digit strikeouts and three of the past four with at least 16.
For the season, Luttrell is 8-0 and has one save on the mound. He’s recorded 93 strikeouts compared to only seven walks.
“He got himself in good shape before the season and has really been in command of his pitches,” Rexroat said. “He’s strong and has unbelievable control. If you throw strikes like he does, you’re going to get outs.”
Rexroat said Western Kentucky University was scouting Luttrell against Somerset, and he’s now received calls from some of the top junior colleges in the nation and Division I program University of Illinois, as well.
“His future looks bright, and the sky’s the limit for him,” Rexroat said.
As of Monday, May 9, Russell County has five games left on the regular season schedule, with its only remaining home contest on Tuesday, May 10, against Green County (14-10-1) at 5 p.m.