Baseball: Packers split a pair of nail-biters with JMPublished 10:35pm Monday, May 13, 2013
The Packers have come close to sweeping a couple of baseball doubleheaders this season and Austin finally looked to have a sweep locked up against Rochester John Marshall in Dick Seltz Field Saturday.
The Packers had a 12-8 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, but the Rockets stole the game when Sam Broman ripped a three-run, one out walk off triple to give JM a 13-12 win after the Packers won the opener 5-4.
“We were in it the whole game, we came back a couple of times and we had a couple of rough situations that we got through,” said Austin sophomore Nik Gasner on the nightcap loss. “To lose like that on a walk-off is just pretty frustrating. Knowing that we should’ve had that second game is the worst part.”
The Packers (6-9 overall, 5-8 Big Nine) committed five errors in the loss, but they also turned two key double plays to stop JM rallies. Austin also kept the pressure on by scoring two runs in the top of the sixth and seventh innings of the loss.
“You’ve go to give JM credit, they went out and won it,” Austin head coach Troy Watkins said. “I don’t think we gave it to them, those hits were legit. Give them credit for staying with it.”
Austin won the opener when Steven Clennon delivered in his first career varsity start. Clennon avoided the big inning as he scattered five hits, three walks and three hit batters to get the win.
“I just wanted to throw strikes. Little (Dylan) Gasner was putting the glove where I wanted it and I was hitting my spots for the most part,” Clennon said. “I walked more guys than I should’ve.”
Clennon wasn’t sure he was even going to have a chance at a win, but the Packers received a break while trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning. With runners on second and third and two outs, Austin’s Ethan Horstmann hit a line drive right at JM’s right fielder, who dropped the ball and allowed the Packers to take a 5-4 lead.
Needing just three outs to get his first varsity mound win, Clennon had all the momentum he needed.
“I went out there feeling great and that was a boost,” Clennon said.
Watkins said that Clennon gave him a solid start against the Rockets (5-5 overall, 5-3 Big Nine) in game one.
“I thought Steven did a nice job in the first game and he really pitched well. He showed he could get guys out,” he said.
Nik Gasner had a huge day for the Packers as he went 5-for-6 with five RBIs. Gasner hit his first career varsity homerun in the nightcap when he drilled a three-run homer over the left field fence to put Austin up 7-3.
“My swing felt pretty good the whole day and I’ve been trying to get one of those for awhile,” Gasner said of his homer. “It was nice to get that first one.”
Austin freshman Dylan Gasner was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs on the day and Austin senior Tommy Olmstead finished the day 4-for-8 with two RBIs and four runs scored.
Austin racked up 24 hits on the day and the Rockets compiled 19 hits.
“The conditions were good for offense,” Watkins said. “The infield is quick and the wind is blowing out, that leads to a lot of runs.”
JM 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 — 4 6 1
Austin 1 1 0 0 0 3 X — 5 10 1
Austin pitching: Steven Clennon (W), 7 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 4 ER, 3 HBP, 5 K
Austin hitting: Tommy Olmstead, 2-for-4, RBI, 2 R, SB; Gabe Kasak, 1-for-3, SB, BB; Nik Gasner, 3-for-3, RBI, R, BB; Ethan Horstmann, 0-for-4; Zach Huntley, 0-for-4; Clennon, 1-for-2, RBI; Hunter Gleason, 0-for-3; Isaac Schumacher, 3-for-3, triple, R; Dylan Gasner, 0-for-3
Austin 1 0 1 5 1 2 2 — 12 14 5
JM 1 1 1 0 2 3 5 — 13 13 2
Austin pitching: Horstmann, 5 1/3 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 8 R, 6 ER, 1 K; Jacob Kempen (L), 1 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 ER, 1 K
Austin hitting: Olmstead, 2-for-4, RBI, 2 R, BB; Kasak, 2-for-4, RBI, SB, 2 R, BB; Nik Gasner, 2-for-3, HR, 5 RBIs, R; Horstmann, 1-for-4, RBI; Huntley, 2-for-5, double; Clennon, 0-for-3; Sean Coffey, 2-for-3, 2 R, BB; Kempen, 1-for-2, R, BB; Dylan Gasner, 2-for-4, double, 2 RBIs, 2 R
Rocky Hulne is the sports editor of the Austin Daily Herald. Follow him on twitter @RockyHulneADH.