Cougars top Packer baseball team

Published 7:53 pm Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Austin baseball team hung with one of the top teams in the Big Nine, but they couldn’t put together a big rally as they lost 4-1 to Mankato East in Seltz Field Thursday.

The Packers (9-5 overall) had two golden chances to put together a big inning, but both chances came up short.

Austin had two runners on with one out in the third, but it wasn’t able to score a run as Hunter Guyette grounded out to end the frame. Guyette had another chance to lift the Packers when he came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Mankato East pitcher Jack Clifford escaped the jam by forcing a game-ending groundout.

Michael O’Connor pitches for the Austin baseball team against Mankato East in Seltz Field Thursday. Rocky Hulne/

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“I thought the scoreboard probably didn’t show how close of a game it really was,” Austin head coach Joe Kroc said. “Guyette hit that one down the line (in the third) that would’ve scored two runs. It was foul by about a half an inch.”

The Cougars (11-1 overall) had just five hits, but they drew seven walks and they also took advantage of three Austin errors.

Austin had a three-game winning streak snapped with the loss.

AJ Mueller lifts a fly ball for the Austin baseball against Mankato East in Seltz Field Thursday. Rocky Hulne/

“We had six hits and I thought their defense took about four hits away from us that could’ve changed the game,” Kroc said. “I was pleased with our at bats to have six hits against a pitcher, who was hitting his spots. Give them credit, they got guys in. I wouldn’t say it was the most pretty thing, but they played small ball and they got the job done.”

East 0 1 1  1 0 1  0    4  5  1

Austin 0 0 0  0 0 0  1    1  6  3

Austin pitching: Michael O’Connor (L) 4 IP, 4 H, 5 BB, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 K; Tony Ciola, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 1 K; Andrew Schumacher, 1 IP, 0 R, 2 K

Austin hitting: Andrew Schumacher, 2-for-4; Riley Wempner, 1-for-4; Hunter Guyette, 0-for-4; AJ Mueller, 1-for-3; O’Connor, 1-for-3, double; Dawson Mills, 0-for-2, R, BB; Nate Murphy, 0-for-2; Ciola, 1-for-2, RBI, BB; Kadin Kneeskern, 0-for-1

Riley Wempner takes a swing for the Austin baseball team against Mankato East in Seltz Field Thursday. Rocky Hulne/