10 May 2013

Baseball: Pitching rules in sweep of Storm

Spencer Merle 3-hitter in game one (photo by J. Lindquist)
The Tigers got their third and fourth straight complete-game pitching performances in a 6-1, 2-0 sweep of Chanhassen Thursday afternoon in Chanhassen.

Spencer Merle allowed just a run on three hits while striking out five and walking four in the opener. Jared Lipinski shutout the Storm on five hits in the nightcap with three strikeouts and a walk.

The fast-improving Farmington defense did not commit an error in the two-game sweep.

"The pitchers have done a great job of getting ahead of hitters and keeping our defense comfortable," Winters said. "The defense has been much better the past few games,

"As far as the pitching goes, the guys  have gotten over their nervousness and the pitching staff is finally healthy.... .  Now we need to get some of our other dings mended.  We’ve had some scrambling in our line-up due to sore arms, injury, and sickness."

Merle was rock solid in the opener, allowing a lone run in the fourth inning after the Tigers had surged to an early 7-0 lead.

The winners managed just six hits but took advantage of seven Chanhassen errors to score three runs apiece in the first and fourth innings.

Merle also helped himself at the plate with a pair of hits and two runs scored. Johnny Dittman, Kevin Olund, Nick Schoening and Landon Nielson had the other Farmington hits.

"We combined for only 11 hits in the two games," Winters said, "but we were very opportunistic...we also had six sacrifice bunts on the day."

Jared Lipinski 5-hit shutout in nightcap
Lipinski out-dueled the Storm's Ty Denzer in game two as the teams combined for just nine base hits.

Lipinski got all the help he would need in the second inning when Nick Schoening reached on an error, moved up on Jordan Lugowski's bunt and scored when Kyle Mayer got on on another error.

The Tigers added their second run in the third inning when Merle doubled, stole third and scored on a wild pitch.

Merle was 2-3 in the contest, giving him four hits in seven at-bats in the two games with three runs scored. Schoening and and Mayer collected the other Farmington hits in the second game.

The victories improved the Tigers' season mark to 5-6 overall and 5-5 in Missota Conference play.

Friday night they travel to Zumbrota-Mazeppa for a non-conference game before closing out the regular season next week with a pair of conference doubleheaders, Tuesday at home versus Chaska and Thursday at Shakopee.