Klapperick#039;s clutch performance keys Pack

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 11, 2002

Andy Klapperick threw two scoreless innings of one-hit ball and came through in the clutch at the plate by driving in the game-winning run in Austin's season-opening comeback victory over Faribault, 5-4, Tuesday night at Marcusen Park in Austin.

Klapperick struck out three Falcon batters in the final two innings for the win, which he helped provide by lifting a one-out double over the left fielder's head. Kyle Rizzi, who reached with one of Austin's four hits, scored the game-winning run.

Billy Anderson lead off the bottom of the seventh with a single, and leadoff hitter Nick Bowe walked with Rizzi coming up. Anderson, who had moved to third on a wild pitch to Bowe, got caught in a rundown between third and home before sliding safely back into third to keep the bases loaded.

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Matt Johnson's hard-hit grounder to third drove in Anderson as the tying run, and Klapperick came up big in the clutch by hammering a hanging curveball over the left fielder.

"I'm happy with the way that the guys stayed in it for the win," said first-year coach Kris Fadness. "The guys really picked each other up in some big spots."

Neil Toov threw 1 2/3 innings of no-hit relief, bailing Packer starter Tim Johnson out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. Toov forced two infield groundouts to hold Faribault at a 4-1 lead.

"He got out of a tough spot for us to keep us in the game," Fadness said of Toov. "He really did a good job of getting us out of there in an inning where they really could have blown things open."

Johnson, who struck out six in the season-opener, scattered four hits in his start. Klapperick relieved Toov for the final two innings, allowing one hit against three strikeouts.

"Klapperick was pitching very effectively, and he came up with the clutch hit for us too," Fadness said.

Austin had only four hits in the game, getting three of them in the bottom of the seventh off reliever Nick Rost. Faribault starter Josh Remme allowed two runs despite no Packer hits over the first four innings. Remme walked five and moved runners around with five wild pitches, which aided Austin's first two runs.

Bowe walked to lead off the Packers' at-bat in the first and moved all the way around to score on wild pitches. Remme walked three batters and struck out two in the first inning alone.

"At the plate we still need to do a better job of putting the ball in play," Coach Fadness said.

Each team committed only one error. Austin capitalized on Faribault's miscue, as a grounder to first off the bat of Mike Leathers dribbled into shallow right to allow Brandon Schaefer to score from second in the bottom of the fourth.

Bowe scored Austin's third run on an RBI-grounder by Klapperick.

The Packers play next on Thursday, hosting Owatonna for a Big Nine Conference doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. at Marcusen Park. Austin's weekend game with Hill-Murray, originally scheduled to start at 1 p.m. on Saturday, has been moved up to begin at noon.

Call Ross Thede at 434-2234 or e-mail him at :mailto:sports@austindailyherald.com.




Remme, Rost (5); Johnson, Toov (4), Klapperick (6) and Bowe, Anderson (6). WP--Klapperick (1-0). 2B--Klapperick.