Hounds pick up a playoff win

Published 12:18 am Thursday, August 9, 2012

Austin Greyhounds catcher Matt Raso tags Savage's Tyler Peterson as he tries to score in the first inning of their playoff game Wednesday night at Marcusen Park. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

The Austin Greyhounds were out-hit, but their offense had its one big inning and their bullpen stepped up as they prevailed with a 4-1 win over Savage in the opening round of the Section 4B tournament in Marcusen Park Wednesday.

The Hounds (17-19 overall) need just one more win in the double-elimination tournament to advance to the super-section round.

Hounds pitcher Joe Huffman faced plenty of jams on Wednesday, but he was always able to pitch out of them. The Outlaws left 14 runners on base on the night and they left two runners on base in five of the six innings Huffman pitched.

Joe Huffman pitches in the second inning in the Greyhounds' playoff game against Savage Wednesday night at Marcusen Park.

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“I couldn’t get the first guy out,” Huffman said. “I wasn’t spotting up inside or outside and guys got on base. Then I had to get a little more aggressive and I got some strikeouts.”

Huffman finally gave way in the top of the seventh right after Austin took a 4-1 lead on a sacrifice fly by Matt Cano and a two-run, two-out double by Tyler Leopold.

After sitting during the rally, Huffman was a little stiff while warming up and he allowed a hit batter and double to start the seventh inning.

Zach Schara came in and slammed the door as he used a heavy dose of fast balls to strike out three straight hitters to escape the jam.

“Schara was awesome,” Huffman said. “They were seeing 78 or 79 from me and he came in throwing 86 or 87. He picked me up big time and we felt like we had it at that point.”

Austin’s offense was a little slow to get going but it finally got on the board when Steve Serratore knocked in a run with a two-out double to the right field wall to tie the game up at 1-1 in the fourth. Serratore also walked and scored on Leopold’s double in the sixth.

“Their pitcher was in the zone,” Serratore, who was 2-for-3 with two doubles, said. “He was mixing his speeds and he was pretty solid, then Leo had a big hit. “

Serratore played third base Wednesday after catching for the Hounds for most of the season. He played error-free ball and said he doesn’t mind playing in the hot corner.

“It’s starting to get a little more familiar too me and I’m getting a little more comfortable each game,” Serratore said. “I took a lot of ground balls the day before the game and that helped.”

On Friday, the Hounds will play the winner of the Blue Sox and Rochester Royals game, which is scheduled for Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Rochester. If the Hounds win Friday’s game, they’ll move on to the supersection tournament. If they lose, they will have to play a qualifying game on Saturday.

Savage 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 11 1

Hounds 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 X — 4 7 0

Hounds pitching: Joe Huffman (W), 6 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 1 ER, 6 K, 1 HBP; Zach Schara, 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 5 K; Logan Spitzack (S), 1 IP, 0 R, 1 K, 1 HBP

Hounds hitting: Andy Swank, 1-for-4, R; Nate Johnson, 2-for-4, R, 2 SB; Matt Cano, 0-for-3, RBI; Matt Raso, 0-for-4; Steve Serratore, 2-for-3, 2 doubles, RBI, R, BB; Tyler Leopold, 1-for-3, double, 2 RBIs; Nels Nelson, 0-for-3; Joe Kroc, 0-for-2, BB, SB; John Frein, 1-for-3; Gabe Kasak, R