Nelson strikes out 11 as Blue Sox blank Rochester

Published 10:08 pm Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Austin Blue Sox closed the books on a busy weekend when they beat the Rochester Blues 4-0 at Marcusen Park Sunday.

Austin (13-4 overall) had lost to Marshall 6-5 in 11 innings Saturday night and it beat Owatonna 5-0 Friday night at Marcusen.

On Sunday, Blue Sox pitcher Nels Nelson went eight shutout innings as he struck out 11. He faced bases loaded jams in the sixth and eighth innings, but both times he escaped by forcing a groundout.

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“I don’t remember the last time Nels allowed an earned run,” Blue Sox manager Josh Kunze said. “He’s locked in and he’s keeping his pitches low with a lot of life on his fast ball.”

Nelson said he’s feeling much better after using last year as a rebuilding season while recovering from an injury.

“The arm’s hanging in there so far and it’s feeling pretty good,” he said. “I tried to mix it up early tonight and most of my strikeouts came off the fast ball.”

Nelson got a boost from the Blue Sox defense as well. Alan May made two leaping catches at shortstop and he made nice play on a grounder in the eighth inning to end the frame with the bases loaded.

“He picked me up big time and he saved a couple of runs tonight,” Nelson said. “It’s good to see high school kids contribute and hopefully we’ll keep him around.”

The Blue Sox got most of their offense from the bat of Dan Swift, who came through with a two-out, run scoring double in the first and a two-out, two run single in the fifth that saw Andy Swank get thrown out a home to end the inning.

Austin scored its last run in the eighth when Mark Harber tripled in a run.

On Friday, the Blue Sox beat Owatonna as Duell Higbe struck out eight in six innings and Joe Serratore picked up a three-inning save. Casey Toops had three RBIs and Dan Swift had a home run.

The Blue Sox ‘B’ team (3-0 overall) beat Albert Lea 9-2 as Weston Hansen struck out 14 at Riverland Saturday.

The ‘B’ team will not play Kasson Monday, but they will host Plainview Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Marcusen Park.

Blues 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 4 1

Blue Sox 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 X — 4 7 1

Blue Sox pitching: Nels Nelson (W), 8 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 0 R, 11 K; Dylan Monson, 1 IP, 0 R, 1 K

Blue Sox hitting: Joe Kroc, 1-for-4; Aaron Port, 2 R, SB, BB, HBP; Andy Swank, 1-for-3; Kyle Young, 1-for-3; Marty Dick, 0-for-3; Steve Serratore, 0-for-4; Alan May, 0-for-3; Chris May, 1-for-3, R, SB; Jamie Pratt, 0-for-1; Chris May, 1-for-3, R, SB; Duell Higbe, 0-for-1, R; Mark Harber, 1-for-1, triple, RBI; Brady Klingfus, BB