Lowndes navigated through three innings worth of miscues from both teams before the pitching settled down to suppress Pope's bats in a 9-6 victory Saturday at the Wildcat Invitational.
Sloppy starts are becoming a trend with Lowndes baseball this season, a trend that Vikings coach Danny Redshaw would like to see come to an end.
"It was just ugly baseball for a couple innings by both teams," said Redshaw. "That was their first time out, so you could probably give them a pass on that, but you can't give us a pass. We just played sloppy for about three innings. That's kinda how we've been the first two games.
"It's not a real good thing, in all three games we've played we've started kinda slow, making mental mistakes, physical mistakes, but the best thing about it is that in all three games we've played, we battled back and played better, so that's a good thing."
The two teams combined for four errors, four passed balls, and two wild pitches, all resulting in 15 runs in three innings; it took a pitcher making just his second start since Tommy John surgery to keep runs off the board as Greyson McLeod entered for the Vikings, trailing 5-4 in the third inning before holding the Greyhounds to one hit and one run through the next three innings.
"This was his second time out,” said Redshaw. “He threw very well versus Lincoln, he threw well tonight, he just needs innings.
"He hasn't been out here since he was a sophomore, and we're just tickled pink by the way he's pitched for us."
McLeod, who underwent Tommy John surgery in October of 2012, relieved starter Corey Pope to open the top of the third after Pope allowed five runs in the first two innings.
But before taking their defensive positions in the top of the third, Redshaw pulled aside his players and told them to loosen up and have fun.
"I just told them to relax," said Redshaw. "I mean, I said, 'Guys it's like you've never played before, you're playing scared. Just go play the game, relax and have fun.’ And I think we started doing that."
With the defense settled in behind him, McLeod took the mound and after struggling a bit with his command, got out of the inning only allowing one run on a walk and a double. McLeod continued to keep the Greyhounds' bats quiet throughout the next two innings, allowing just a walk in each inning.
"You work in front of hitters, you play some defense behind him, we didn't help Pope out a lot defensively, but we made some plays behind Greyson," said Redshaw. "He threw strikes and mixed up his pitches, and when you do the little things right it's a pretty simple game."
Pope didn’t score again after the third inning as Lowndes made the 9-6 lead standup over the final four innings to finish the Wildcat Invitational at 2-1.