Packers get swept in season opener
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
ALBERT LEA — The season got off to a rough start for the Austin Packers baseball team on Thursday with a pair of losses.
Albert Lea beat Austin by scores of 4-2 and 12-4 in the Big Nine Conference doubleheader at Hayek Field.
Mark Harber went six innings on the mound in the opener for the Packers, and took the loss. Harber had five strikeouts in his initial start of the season.
Adam Hemann started the late game on the hill for the Packers, but didn’t make it out of the first inning. Brady Klingfus then finished the game in relief.
"It was the first time our guys had seen live pitching and we had 10 strikeouts in the opening game," Austin coach Troy Watkins said.
"They had a couple of doubles in the first inning and took the lead, but then Mark got more comfortable on the mound. The story of the game was our inability put the bat on the ball."
The Packers scored their only runs of the opener on just one hit in the top of the fourth inning.
Klingfus was hit by a pitch to start the fourth for the Packers. After an out, Joey Swatfager reached on an error to put runners at the corners.
A wild pitch from Logan Kortan of the Tigers then allowed Klingfus to score, and Swatfager went to second. Jacob Winters then stroked a two-out single to score Swatfager.
This cut the deficit to 3-2, but the Packers could get no closer. The Tigers added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to take the opening game of the day.
In the late affair, Hemann walked four batters and another reached on an error. The Tigers scored six runs in the first inning and led the whole way to complete the sweep.
"Adam usually has the best command of our pitchers, but he couldn’t find it in the first inning," Watkins said. "I felt bad for him, because he’s looked good in pre-season practices.
"Brady came on and did a good job in relief. We came back with four runs in the top of the fourth, but that was it for the offense. We just had too many strikeouts on the day."
Austin (0-2, 0-1 Big Nine) plays its home opener on Monday versus Northfield at Seltz Field.
ALBERT LEA 4, AUSTIN 2
Austin 000 200 0 — 2 5 1
Albert Lea 201 001 x — 4 5 2
Austin: Steven Rizzi 2-4, SB; Jordan Hall, 1-3, 2B; Mark Harber 1-3; Jacob Winters 1-3, RBI; Brady Klingfus 0-2, HBP, run. LP: Mark Harber 6 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K.
AL: Logan Kortan 2-3, 2B, HR, 2 runs, 2 RBI. WP: Kortan 5 IP, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 7 K. SV: A.Klatt 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K.
ALBERT LEA 12, AUSTIN 4
Austin 000 040 0 — 4 4 2
AL 611 040 x — 12 8 2
Austin: Jordan Hall 2-4, 2B, run; Adam Hemann 1-4, 2B; Klingfus 1-4. LP: Adam Hemann 0 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 H, 4 BB, 0 K. RP: Klingfus 4 1/3 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 3 K.
AL: Kortan 2-5, 3 runs. WP: C.Strilaeff 7 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K.