Baseball: Packers bounce back to get a split with SpartansPublished 4:19pm Saturday, May 11, 2013
It took a little while for the Packers to wake up on a cold, windy Saturday morning. But when they did, they showed the type of baseball they are capable of playing as they split a doubleheader with Rochester Mayo in Dick Seltz Field.
Austin dropped the first game 17-3 and won the second game 10-2 behind the pitching of sophomore Nik Gasner, who struck out five and scattered five hits.
“Nik seems to be the Stephen Strasburg of Austin right now,” said Austin senior Gabe Kasak. “When he’s out there, either he doesn’t let up a lot of runs and we don’t hit for him or doesn’t let up a lot of runs and we hit for him and get him the win.”
Austin (5-8 overall, 4-8 Big Nine) fell behind 6-0 in the first inning of the first game due to a grand slam by Mayo’s Bailey Kazeck, but Gasner held the Spartans (7-5 overall, 7-5 Big Nine) in check in the second game.
Gasner didn’t allow a run until the fourth inning when Austin was leading 5-1 and he retired nine of the first 11 hitters he faced.
It wasn’t always easy for Gasner to stay focused as he was battling the high winds as much as he was battling the Mayo hitters.
“Sometimes on my wind-up, the wind would push me off and I’d kind of fall off a little bit,” he said. “A couple of those fly balls basically ran away from our outfielders, which was kind of scary for me.”
Austin head coach Troy Watkins was pleased with how his team responded in the second game after a tough opening loss.
“We got off to a tough start in the first game. It wasn’t the way we wanted to start, but we bounced back in the second game and played the kind of baseball we want to play,” Watkins said. “Nik did a nice job of throwing strikes and keeping guys off-balanced.”
The Packers came up with some clutch hitting in their win as Kasak knocked in two runs with a two-out single in the top of the fourth and he added a two-run, two-out double to put the game away in the top of the seventh.
Austin’s offense has struggled since senior Marcus Stoulil has been out of the lineup with an illness, but Kasak said other players have stepped up.
“There hasn’t been a lot of pressure,” Kasak said. “We’re definitely missing him, but other people have stepped up and Tommy (Olmstead) has been a really good leader.”
Austin allowed 19 hits in the opening loss and there was only one inning that the Spartans didn’t score in. Instead of sulking, the Packers regrouped and came out with a strong mentality in the second game.
“I think (the first game) fired us up for the second game we got more confident and angry and took it to them,” Gasner said. “We proved we’re not going to let one game get us down.”
The Packers didn’t let the adverse weather conditions get to them.
“It was crazy out there and I don’t think we’ve ever played in anything like this with the wind,” Watkins said. “It was a mess. But guys didn’t complain, they played hard and dealt with it.”
The Packers beat Waseca 6-2 Friday as Isaac Schumacher pitched all seven innings to get the win.
Mayo 6 1 2 0 1 2 5 — 17 19 0
Austin 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 — 3 6 3
Austin pitching: Jacob Kempen (L), 1 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 BB, 7 ER, 1 K; Dylan Gasner, 2 1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 K; Tommy Olmstead, 2 2/3 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 8 R, 7 ER, 1 K, 1 HBP; Zach Huntley, 1/3 1 BB, 0 R
Austin hitting: Olmstead, 2-for-4, RBI; Gabe Kasak, 1-for-4; Nik Gasner, 0-for-4; Ethan Horstmann, 1-for-2, R, BB; Huntley, 1-for-2, R, BB; Hunter Gleason, 0-for-1, 2 BBs; Isaac Schumacher, 0-for-2, BB; Steven Clennon, 0-for-1; Dylan Gasner, 0-for-2, RBI, BB; Kempen, 1-for-1, RBI
Austin 0 2 0 3 0 1 4 — 10 7 2
Mayo 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 — 2 5 4
Austin pitching: Nik Ganser (W), 7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 ER, 5 K
Austin hitting: Olmstead, 1-for-5, 3 R; Kasak, 3-for-5, double, 4 RBIs, R; Nik Gasner, 1-for-4, triple, RBI, BB; Horstmann, 0-for-4, R, HBP; Huntley, 0-for-3; Clennon, 1-for-2, 3 R, 2 BBs; Gleason, 0-for-2, HBP; Sean Coffey, 0-for-4; Dylan Gasner, 1-for-3, 2 RBIs, 2 R, BB