DIAMOND OPENER: East Central’s Cody Tallon connects on a Ryan Thurston pitch (below) during Saturday’s season opener at O’Neal Field. Thurston gave up two runs in five innings but pitched well enough to win in the 7-0 loss. Madison shortstop Ethan Leach leaps over East Central’s Nate Werner (above) while fielding a throw on a stolen base as Cubs’ second baseman Tucker Callis (25) backs up the play. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
DIAMOND OPENER: East Central’s Cody Tallon connects on a Ryan Thurston pitch (below) during Saturday’s season opener at O’Neal Field. Thurston gave up two runs in five innings but pitched well enough to win in the 7-0 loss. Madison shortstop Ethan Leach leaps over East Central’s Nate Werner (above) while fielding a throw on a stolen base as Cubs’ second baseman Tucker Callis (25) backs up the play. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Madison managed just two hits total while racking up 19 strikeouts to end up on the wrong end of a doubleheader sweep by East Central in the Cubs' baseball season openers on Saturday.

The visiting Trojans rolled to a 10-0, five-inning win in the opener and then scored five runs in the seventh to pull away for a 7-0 win in game two.

It all added up to a rough start to new coach Shannon Barger's Madison tenure.

"In the first game I didn't think we competed very well especially with two strikes. We didn't battle. The second game was better," Barger said. "We had some guys that were nervous today. It was their first varsity game. It was just a long day."

Madison (0-2) had baserunners in each inning of the opener but Ryan Thurston's fifth-inning double amounted to the only Cub hit.

East Central, meanwhile, picked up nine hits in the abbreviated game and scored in every inning to pull away.

Sophomore Derek Anderson started for Madison and allowed four hits and four runs in three innings and was followed to the hill by Bailey McDole and Sam McIlvain.

Lucas Gramman was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Payton Stonefield was 2-for-3 with two runs scored to lead East Central. Nick Dezarn struck out seven in five innings to earn the win.

Thurston started game two for Madison and other than a third-inning hiccup, the senior ace pitched well enough to win. The Western Kentucky signee struck out seven and walked four while scattering three hits over five innings.

East Central (2-0) touched Thurston for two runs in the third. Gramman singled and Cody Tallon was hit by a pitch. Mitch Schuman then plated both with a double to left.

But Thurston settled down over the next two innings and the only runner to reach against him was on an error.

"I thought Ryan was pretty dominant in the fourth and fifth innings," Barger said. "He got his breaking ball over. I still want to see him attack more with his fastball but I think he threw pretty well."

Despite Thurston's strong performance he took the loss because the Cubs put only two runners in scoring position during the game. Logan Kleopfer's fourth inning single was Madison's only hit of the game.

"A lot of (the lack of hitting) was us not being able to get outside and see live arms," Barger said. "Some of them are great cage hitters. They figured out today that it doesn't always correlate to on-field success."

Clark Vaughn pitched the final two innings in relief for Madison. After a strong sixth, Vaughn was hit for five runs in the seventh inning.

Tallon was 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored to lead East Central's eight-hit attack. Dezarn added a double.

Ethan Kramer struck out nine while allowing only one hit in six innings to pick up the win for East Central. A.J. Schomber struck out the side in a perfect seventh inning of relief.

"I thought there were a few positives," Barger said. "I thought Ryan Thurston pitched well, Clark Vaughn pitched a strong sixth inning and Sam McIlvain pitched well in the first game. And I thought our catchers did a very good job behind the plate. I wasn't as disappointed that we lost two as much as I was that we didn't compete. That's something that we're going to have to work on."

Madison was scheduled to host Greensburg on Tuesday but that game has been postponed due to Greensburg's boys basketball team winning the state championship a week and a half ago and the Pirates needing more time to get their baseball program up and going. No make-up date has been announced.

The Cubs' next game is at Southwestern on Thursday, the first of four road games in three days. Madison travels to Lawrenceburg Friday and faces Floyd Central and Columbus East at Floyd on Saturday.