When both sides pitched their aces, you expected a close game.
That lasted about half the game, before Northwestern turned its opening game of the Wheels Invitational into a rout, hammering Fort Mill 6-0.
Northwestern pitcher Shane Myers was sharp, scattering six hits and striking out five and walking only one.
"Shane's our No. 1, but that's probably the best game he's pitched all year," Trojans coach Mitch Walters said. "He was in control of all three pitches, the fastball, curve, and change-up, but the change was what got him through the night."
Myers pointed out that he had plenty of help from his defense, which played a clean game and took Fort Mill out of a few potential rallies.
Northwestern negated a potential tying run in the fourth when the Trojans nailed Fort Mill's Cody Moody at the plate trying to score on a deep fly to left. Northwestern caught one Fort Mill runner stealing in the fifth (and nearly had another if not for a close call) to kill a scoring chance, and third baseman Chapman Gardiner erased a seventh-inning leadoff runner by triggering a double play.
"We expected them to hit it hard, and they did, but right at us," Myers said of Fort Mill, the state's top-ranked team in Class AAA. "Our guys just kept making plays all night. These guys play great defense, and they did today."
That was more than enough for the Trojans after they broke open the game with four runs in the bottom of the fourth, helped along by some uncharacteristically bad defense by Fort Mill.
Centerfielder Michael Patrick drove in the first two with a single to left, then he and Jeremy Hyatt came around to score on a pair of Yellow Jackets' throwing errors.
Those were two of the four errors on the day for Fort Mill, which left coach Brad Mercer shaking his head afterward.
"We never got going at all," Mercer said. "They were able to capitalize on a couple of mistakes, and when we hit it well it was right at them.
"We hadn't made more than one error in a game this season, so when we started throwing it around, you just know that's not the way you've played all year."
That defense betrayed junior left-hander Andrew Tomasovich, who allowed seven hits while striking out seven, with his only walk intentional.
"He threw well, but it's tough to throw well enough when you get down early," Mercer said of Tomasovich. "He kept us in the game all the way, we just couldn't get anything going with the bats."
FORT MILL 0
Fort Mill: Andrew Tomasovich (6) and Cody Moody. Northwestern: Shane Myers (7) and Jensen Mikels. WP: Myers. LP: Tomasovich.
2B: Fort Mill -- Cody Moody, Northwestern -- Jeremy Hyatt.
Leading Hitters: Fort Mill - Alec Therrell 2-for-3; Northwestern - Taylor Norris 2-for-2, Josh Crump 2-for-3.
Records: Northwestern; Fort Mill 14-5.