Greyhounds edge Blue Sox, create three-way tie for second in SectionPublished 11:42pm Friday, August 8, 2014
Austin Greyhounds pitcher Nels Nelson had some mixed emotions on Friday night in Marcusen Park.
Before the game, the Austin Blue Sox inducted his parents into the Blue Sox Hall of Fame for the support they gave the Blue Sox over the years and then Nelson came out and picked up a two-inning save to give the Hounds a 5-4 win.
Nelson, who used to pitch for the Blue Sox, allowed two hits in the top of the ninth, but he escaped the jam when he struck out his former teammate Brandon Rector with runners on first and second.
“It was a really great honor [for my parents] and I thank Josh [Kunze] for doing that,” Nelson said. “It’s weird throwing against the old team. We compete against each other, but we’re still both Austin teams. It’s a great rivalry and I love playing in it.”
The win for the Hounds (13-15 overall, 3-5 Section) creates a log-jam in Section 4 as the Blue Sox (11-14 overall, 3-5 Section) and Rochester Royals (3-5 Section) are all tied going into the last day of the regular season. Mankato has the No. 1 seed clinched.
The Hounds trailed 4-3 after five innings, but they got back in the game in the top of the sixth when Tyler Leopold singled in Andy Swank, who tripled. Leopold used some heads up base running with two outs to put the Hounds on top for good. Leopold stole third base and home when the Blue Sox first threw behind him and then threw at first base try and get Jeremy Williams on a steal attempt.
“I was trying to be a little aggressive,” Leopold said. “[Blue Sox catcher Cody Meyer] threw behind me twice and then the ball went in the dirt and I knew he was going to second, so I went to third and Jeremy followed me.”
The Blue Sox had an error that allowed Williams to reach base and they also mis-played a bunt that cost them in the third inning.
“We’re a little disappointed that we didn’t execute on a few plays,” Blue Sox manager Josh Kunze said. “There was a bunt coverage in the third inning that probably cost us a run and the hot box play probably cost us a run.”
The Blue Sox had their offense going early on as they scored four runs in the first three innings, but they also stranded seven runners on base in those frames. Zach Schara picked up the win for the Hounds as he scattered 11 hits and struck out seven.
“We had a chance to really take Zach out of the game with another single or another couple of runs,” Kunze said. “A lot of it was what we didn’t do, but Zach did a great job. He got a little stronger as the game went on and after that third inning he turned it on for them.”
The Hounds will need to beat the Mankato Mets on Saturday and have the Blue Sox beat the Rochester Royals to get a home game in the postseason next Wednesday and the Blue Sox must beat the Royals and have the Hounds lose to the Mets.
Leopold said just getting a few Section wins down the stretch has given the Hounds a boost.
“It’s big just for our confidence,” Leopold said. “We hadn’t been playing that great a couple of weeks ago and getting our confidence back is probably more important than seeding right now.”
Greyhounds 0 0 3 0 0 2 0 0 0 — 5 8 2
Blue Sox 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 4 13 2
Hounds pitching: Zach Schara (W) 7 IP, 11 H, 3 BB, 4 ER, 7 K; Nels Nelson, 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 K
Hounds hitting: Nate Johnson, 3-for-4, double, 2 RBIs, R; Jonathan Fleek, 1-for-4, RBI; Matt Cano, 0-for-4; Josh Evans, 0-for-3, HBP; Andy Swank, 1-for-4, triple, R; Tyler Leopold, 1-for-4, RBI, R, 2 SB; Jeremy Williams, 2-for-4, double, SB; Nelson, 1-for-4; John Frein, 0-for-1, SB, BB; Jordan Hart, 0-for-1
Blue Sox pitching: Brian Voigt (L) 8 2/3 IP, 8 H, 1 BB, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 K, 1 HBP; Chris May, 1/3 IP, 0 R
Blue Sox hitting: Lukas Anderson, 0-for-4, BB; Jaimie Adams, 0-for-5, RBI; May, 2-for-5, R; Voigt, 3-for-5, RBI, R; Mark Harber, 3-for-5, RBI; Cody Meyer, 4-for-5; Brandon Rector, 1-for-4, RBI, BB; Carter Guthmiller, 0-for-4; Quinn Yocom, 0-for-3, RBI, BB; Josh Kunze, 0-for-1