Greyhounds open with win

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 19, 2003

The defending Class B amateur champion Austin Greyhounds baseball team started the season with a 1-0 victory over the St. Paul Metro Merchants in front of a surprisingly strong hometown crowd Sunday at Marcusen Park.

The Greyhounds opened the summer campaign against an already seasoned Merchants team, winning a pitcher’s duel against a Class A state qualifier from a year ago. Scott Meyer and Matt Raso combined on the eight-hit shutout and Raso provided the clutch hit to give the Greyhounds the game’s only run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

&uot;It was tough to get guys around,&uot; said Austin shortstop John Frein. &uot;It was a pretty tight game for a while. Scotty and Raso didn’t miss a beat, they started off where they left off last year.

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&uot;They both pitched really well for their first outing with their arms not strong yet.&uot;

Meyer worked five innings as the starter before giving way to Raso, who closed out the final four frames. The Merchants, despite outhitting Austin 8-4, never advanced a runner to third base.

The Greyhounds were also error-free in their first game in defense of their Class B state championship.

&uot;It was our first time out hitting and it was tough to get the ball in play,&uot; Frein said.

Nevertheless, Austin pieced together a run in the bottom of the eighth with a two-out single by Raso, who was unable to deliver in a similar situation earlier in the game.

Nick Rohne walked and stole second to start the eighth, and one out later cleanup hitter Craig Selk grounded out to the right side to advance Rohne to third. Raso came up with the blooper over the shortstop for the RBI.

The Greyhounds’ only other legitimate scoring threat came in the sixth, when Mitch Mullenbach singled and Rohne was beaned to start the inning. Tate Cummings moved them up with a groundout, but Selk and Raso went down swinging to erase the opportunity.

Cummings also made what Frein called &uot;the catch of the game&uot; with a diving grab in center field, robbing the Merchants of an extra-base hit.

Mullenbach went 2-for-4 for half of Austin’s offense in the opener. Selk added a double as the ‘Hounds’ only other hit. Jamie Morrison was plunked twice, while Rohne and Frein each were beaned once.

Meyer and Raso, who got the win, combined to strike out five. Nick Standal (1-2) took the loss in relief for the Merchants, who are 7-2 on the season.

The Greyhounds play only seven more home games this season, making Wednesday’s crowd showing extra-special to the Austin club.

&uot;We really appreciated our fan support for the first outing,&uot; Frein added.

Austin, now 1-0 to open the year, plays Tuesday and Wednesday in Bloomington. Both games start at 8 p.m. and are just seven innings. Clint Ripley will start for the Greyhounds in Tuesday’s contest against the Bloomington Bulldogs.

Box Score


000 000 000 — 0 8 2


000 000 01x — 1 4 0

WP–Raso (1-0). LP–Standal (1-2).