Spartans slaughter Austin, 17-4

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Whatever sort of a hot streak the Austin baseball team was on has changed from warm to cold thanks in great part to Rochester Mayo.

The Spartans scored 10 runs in the first three innings and continued their tear against Austin's bullpen in a 17-4 Big Nine Conference loss for the host Packers Monday at Marcusen Park.

Austin's gloomy season started to look bright after a 6-4 loss at Mayo May 1 in which the Packers led 4-0. Austin lost its next game, 1-0 at Mankato East, but won the second game of that doubleheader and two of their next three conference contests.

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After falling in the second game of a doubleheader at Owatonna, the Packers postponed Saturday's rain-out with Rochester Century and met with Mayo Monday night. The second meeting left a little to be desired.

Rochester Mayo scored 10 runs in three innings off starter Kyle Rizzi and tallied seven more off Adam Van Proosdy and a less-than-helpful Packer defense. Austin (5-11, 5-9) kicked up five errors in the Big Nine loss.

"I think we could (compete with Mayo) again under the right circumstances, but five errors doesn't help that," said Austin coach Kris Fadness. "The later in the game its gets, the sloppier we play. We're hitting the ball better, which is actually a good prelude to tonight's game at Albert Lea."

The Packers were no-hit by Albert Lea ace Isaac Walton -- a left-hander -- in their first meeting, a 1-0 Tiger win April 20 at Marcusen Park.

Austin racked up eight hits off Mayo starter Matt Meyers -- a 6-4 lefty -- but the Spartan defense played error-free. Meyers also had plenty of cushion after Tim Gerlesberger's three-run homer in Mayo's four-run third inning gave the Spartans a 10-1 lead.

Rizzi lasted the first three innings, allowing nine hits and 10 Mayo runs. Van Proosdy allowed six hits and seven runs over the final four innings.

"I thought Kyle tried to be a little too fine, and he got behind a few hitters," Coach Fadness said. "You can't let those guys get on base because they can flat-out hit."

Gerlesberger, Mayo's No. 3 hitter, was 4-4, while Tom Senne hit 4-5 out of the second spot in the order.

Matt Johnson led the Packers' offensive attack with a 3-4 performance. Johnson leads the team far and away with a .460 batting average.

"He's just a machine," Fadness said. "I feel bad for him, everytime he comes up to the plate he feels like he has to produce for us. But he's just tearing the cover off the ball."

Rizzi was 2-4 as the only other Packer with multiple hits.

Austin postponed Saturday's home game with Century to Thursday night, but because of a scheduling conflict at Marcusen Park the Packers must again travel to Rochester to face the league-leading Panthers. Mayo Field will host Thursday's game at 7:30 p.m.

Call Ross Thede at 434-2234 or e-mail him at




WP--Meyers. LP--Rizzi.