HAMILTON – The Early Longhorns improved to 4-2-1 on the season by knocking off the host Hamilton Bulldogs, 5-3, Thursday morning to open the Hamilton baseball tournament.

The Longhorns, who bounced back from a 7-4 loss at Anson Monday, tallied the game’s first three runs as Early chalked up seven hits overall. On the mound, Christopher Johnston and Nick Alcorta combined to a toss a one-hitter, though Hamilton did draw four base on balls and the Longhorns committed six errors in the field.

J.W. Ledbetter finished with two hits and an RBI for the Longhorns, while Alcorta and Abel Hernandez generated one hit and one RBI apiece. Jared Crouch was also credited with an RBI, while Johnston, Stephen Hlis and Jake Fisher contributed base hits.

Johnston also worked the first 4.2 innings on the mound, yielding three runs – none earned – on one hit with eight strikeouts and four walks. Alcorta notched the final out with a strikeout.

Early grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the second as Ledbetter singled and Hlis walked, both of which turned into runs. Tim Wade, courtesy-running for Ledbetter, scored on an error, while Hlis came home on an RBI ground out by Hernandez.

The Longhorns stretched the lead to 3-0 in the top of the third as Tres Underwood walked and scored when Ledbetter delivered an RBI double.

Hamilton closed the gap to 3-2 in the bottom of the third, but Early pushed the advantage to 4-2 in the top of the fourth on an RBI ground out by Crouch, which plated Hernandez, who reached on a single.

Alcorta launched a solo home run in the top of the fifth to boost the advantage to 5-2, and Hamilton managed just one run in the bottom of the fifth before the time limit expired.

Early is slated to face Goldthwaite at 3:45 p.m. Friday when the Longhorns’ weekend tournament action resumes.