The Austin Greyhounds amatuer baseball team faced a stiff challenge at Marcusen Park Wednesday evening in the personage of the Rochester Royals, the number one team in the state in the last Class B rankings, but it was the Greyhounds erasing a 4-0 deficit with an eight-run bottom of the sixth inning on their way to a big 9-5 win.
Rochester used five hits and an error to plate three runs off of Austin starter Harrison Hanna in the top of the first for a 3-0 lead, and the game then settled into a scoreless duel until the Royals pushed across a run in the top of the sixth off of ‘Hounds releiver Alex Ciola for a 4-0 lead. The Greyhounds, who had been held hitless by Royals starter Palmer Mickelson until the fifth exploded in the sixth when leadoff hitter Isaac Schumacher walked. He then stole second and scored when Mark Harber drove a Mickelson offering off the top of the fence in right field for a long single, scoring Schumacher to cut the Royals lead to 4-1. Zach Bollingberg and Sam Nelsen both followed with singles to load the bases and shortstop Tony Ciola cut the Rochester lead to 4-2 with a RBI single. Centerfielder Andrew Schumacher then added a RBI ground out to make the score 4-3, and Alex Ciola and Eric Torres then belted back-to-back RBI singles to put the ‘Hounds in front 5-4. With two out, third baseman Jordan Hart lined a crucial two-RBI single just over a leaping Jake Halverson of Rochester at shortstop into left center to make the score 7-4, and Harber then added a bloop single just inside the left field line to bring in another run for an 8-4 Austin lead as the ‘Hounds sent 12 men to the plate in the inning overall, and belted out eight hits to vault into the lead.
Austin added another run in the bottom of the seventh when Sam Nelsen and Tony Ciola drew walks off releiver Nick Pearson. Andrew Schumacher then laid down a beautiful bunt on a tough pitch to handle from Pearson to move the runners to second and third, and Nelsen then scored on a wild pitch to make the score 9-4. The Royals tallied a run in the top of the ninth to cut the Austin lead to 9-5, but Jordan Hart came on in relief of Ciola and registered the last two outs to close out the win as Rochester stranded 13 men on base in the game, including eight in the last four innings.
Harrison Hanna went the first three innings for the Greyhounds on the mound and gave up three runs, all earned, on six hits, striking out one and walking one. He gave way to Alex Ciola, who was credited with the win after pitching 5 and 1/3rds and giving up two runs, both earned, on eight hits, striking out three and walking one, and Hart wound up pitching 2/3rds of an inning and giving up no runs on no hits, walking two and striking out one.
With the win, the Greyhounds are now 11-4 on the season, and Austin returns to action at Marcusen Park Friday night in a Twin Rivers League game versus the Dodge County Diamondbacks, with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.