BRIDGEWATER — Daniel Bowman was back home Thursday at Ray Heatwole Field, making his debut as the Turner Ashby head baseball coach.

The Knights made sure it was a happy occasion.

TA pounded out nine hits and got five strong innings on the mound by sophomore Tyler Hill en route to a 6-2 non-district win over Wilson Memorial in the season opener for both teams.

"It feels pretty good," the 2008 TA graduate Bowman said of his first win. "Our guys have been working hard in the fall and winter. I thought we played a good ball game all-around and got some timely hits. It's a good way to start."

The Knights wasted no time getting the scoring started in the bottom of the first. Shortstop Grayson Smith walked, took second and third on a throwing error, and scored the game's first run when centerfielder Micah Matthews doubled to left to make it 1-0. Jack Fox then tripled to center to drive in Matthews to extend the Knights' lead to 2-0.

The Hornets got on the board in the second. Ryan McDaniel singled, Jaden Rose doubled, and Jalen Rowzie had an RBI double to make it 2-1. Wilson loaded the bases, but Hill got out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts and a fly ball.

TA added a run in the third. Fox and Brooks Bowman both singled, and Fox scored when Caden Simmers reached on a fielder's choice to make it 3-1. The Hornets got a solo home run in the fifth by senior Dusty Cash to trim the Knights' lead to 3-2.

TA came back in the bottom of the fifth. Bowman singled, took second and third on a throwing error, and then scored on Simmers' single up the middle to extend the Knights' lead to 4-2.

The Knights added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth. Bryce Carter reached on an error, and Matthews followed with a walk. Caden Swartley then ripped a single up the middle that drove in both runs, making it 6-2.

Fox, Bowman and Simmers paced the TA offense with two hits apiece, while Simmers and Swartley added two RBIs each. Hill pitched five complete innings, scattering six hits and striking out four to get the win. Swartley pitched the final two innings, struck out two, and allowed no Hornet hits to get the save.

"He's the most experienced pitcher we have," Bowman said of Hill. "He pitched a lot last year and he's one of the guys we feel good about sending out there."

McDaniel, Cash and Rose had two hits apiece for Wilson (0-1).

"We had some first game jitters," Green Hornets head coach Rodney Cullen said. "We had some chances with base runners but didn't get the hits we needed. TA got some clutch hits. We just need to settle down and keep playing."

Bowman was more than happy to be back at Ray Heatwole Field and coaching once again.

"I got out of baseball for another job for a couple of years," the former assistant coach at James Madison said. "I just couldn't get it out of my blood and I'm looking forward to the season."

Wilson returns to action on Friday as it hosts Broadway in another non-district tilt, while the Knights will entertain Sherando in their annual weekend battle at 3 p.m. on Saturday at home.

Wilson Memorial 010 010 0 — 2 7 5
Turner Ashby 201 012 x — 6 9 0
F. Irving, Podgorski (6) and Aleshire. Hill, Swartley (6) and Swartley, Bowman (6). W — Hill (1-0) L - F. Irving (0-1). SV — Swartley (1). 2B — WM: Rose, Rowzie. TA: Swartley, Matthews. 3B — TA: Fox. HR — Cash (WM), fifth, none on. FC — WM: Goff, Rowzie, Saunders. TA: Smith. HBP — WM: Podgorski, Rose. E — WM: F. Irving (2), McDaniel, Saunders (2). DP — TA: Carter, Smith, Fox.

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