When Columbus North freshman Casper Clark and Southport sophomore AJ Short took the mound Tuesday evening, the duel was on.

Both pitchers came into the game with sub 1.00 earned run averages, and runs were going to come at a premium.

The game lived up to its billing, with the Bull Dogs fell to the visiting Cardinals 3-1 in a pitchers’ duel.

Clark breezed through his first three innings of work with a lone blemish of a hit on the first pitch of the game. Senior catcher Nolan Wetherald helped out his young pitcher by throwing out the runner on a steal attempt just a few pitches later.

North (9-6, 1-2) took a one-run lead in the bottom of the third inning. Korry Drum walked, then moved to second with a sacrifice bunt. Wade Rankin then doubled to give the Bull Dogs their only run of the contest.

Southport (5-7, 2-1) fought back in the top of the fourth when its leadoff man reached base on an error. Two singles scored Chris Cox to tie the game.

Wetherald helped out his young pitcher again in the fourth, tossing out his second runner of the contest at third base to stop the Cardinals attack.

North’s offense sputtered through the last four innings. The Bull Dogs left a runner stranded at second base in each inning.

Southport capitalized in the top of the seventh. Clark’s lone walk of the game came around to score from first on triple by Dustin Church. Church then scored on a sac fly to give the Cardinals an insurance run.

Short finished the game allowing only one earned run, four hits and two walks.