In a game that left little room for error, Jefferson's Ethan Garner was nearly flawless.
Garner crafted a one-hit shutout Thursday in the Dragons' 1-0 win over Wesleyan, striking out nine batters and issuing only one walk in a performance that left his coach thoroughly impressed.
"He threw every pitch where he wanted to for seven innings," Jefferson coach Tommy Knight said. "That was the name of the ball game. He wasn't overpowering, but he pitched. He was a pitcher."
Jefferson (9-3) managed its lone run in the bottom of the fifth when Hanon Price scored from third on a dropped pop fly.
Pitted in a pitchers' duel against Wesleyan's Christopher Peden, Garner was able to use all of the pitches in his arsenal effectively.
"At the beginning of the season I guess I didn't do so great but I've had a lot of practice getting my mechanics down," Garner said. "Consistency, I guess, is the main thing."
Garner ran into trouble in the top of the fifth inning after a pair of errors gave Wesleyan runners at first and second with no outs. But Garner struck out the next two batters and forced a ground out to second to get the Dragons out of the inning.
"I mean, just staying relaxed I guess and keeping your composure and just doing what you've been doing the whole game is what I was thinking the whole time," Garner said.
Like Wesleyan, Jefferson put runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Alex Gaba then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over to second and third. Price — who led off the inning with a single — scored when a pop fly was dropped in shallow right field.
Knight pointed to Gaba's bunt that set up the Dragon's scoring opportunity.
"That's the little things that make a big difference in close ball games," Knight said. "Our guys executed today and we ended up on the right side of the score."
The victory extends the Dragons' winning streak to six games and serves as a nice non-region triumph for Jefferson which lost to Wesleyan (3-6) in the Sweet 16 last year.
"(It gives us) just a little bit of confidence," Knight said. "We've been there, so we may see these guys down the road or somebody out of their region."
Garner said it was a fun afternoon.
"It was a great game to win and do pretty good in," Garner said. "It was pretty exciting."