SPARTANBURG -- Sloan Gilliam couldn't have scripted a better performance to begin the American Legion playoffs if he wanted to.
The Spartanburg pitcher tossed 6 1-3 shutout innings and went 5-for-5 at the plate to lead Post 28 to a 10-3 victory against Rock Hill at Ronnie J. Sims Field on Monday night.
Spartanburg leads the best-of-five series 1-0.
Gilliam threw 102 pitches and gave up only two hits with 10 strikeouts.
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The right-hander retired 13 straight Post 34 batters between the fourth and seventh innings, including striking out the side in the fifth.
"I just came out and tried to make them put the ball in play and let our defense make plays behind me," Gilliam said. "We have a strong defense, and it showed tonight."
"He had a good night," said Rock Hill coach Steve Knight of Gilliam. "He got ahead of our batters and kept us off balance."
It didn't take long for Gilliam to help himself at the plate, too, getting Post 28 on the board in the bottom of the first with an RBI single that scored Alex Dozier.
Gilliam followed that up with solo home runs in the third and fifth and a two-run single in the sixth to extend Spartanburg's lead to 8-0.
Gilliam entered the night with a team-leading .441 batting average.
"He stepped up and did what he's done all year," Spartanburg coach Matthew West said. "The home runs didn't come until tonight, but we knew they were eventually coming."
Dozier added two hits, including a two-run single in the fourth.
Andrew Patterson, Ross Hanna and Kyle Worthy also added RBIs for Spartanburg (13-2).
Worthy had three hits, while Patterson and Fisher Easterling added two of Post 28's 17 hits on the night.
"It was good to come out and get the win," Dozier said. "We're going to come out tomorrow, swing the bats and hopefully do the same thing."
Rock Hill (8-9) had opportunities to capitalize on potential big innings but left the bases loaded in the second, seventh and eighth.
Post 34 was able to cut the lead, though, with three runs in the eighth on a two-run home run by Josh Bowers and RBI single by Taylor Wallace.
"You can't leave the number of runners on base that we left and expect to win," Knight said. "We didn't get that timely hitting."
"It was closer than we wanted it to be. We knew we needed our 'A' game," West said.
"The guys made good adjustments at the plate to stay back and draw some walks. Then, they started getting the hits to fall."
Game 2 will be tonight at Rock Hill at 7 p.m.
Chester at Inman, 7 p.m.
Fort Mill at Gaffney, 7 p.m.
Spartanburg at Rock Hill, 7 p.m.
Rock Hill 3