The Austin Greyhounds amatuer baseball team played host to the Owatonna Aces in a Twin Rivers League game at Dick Seltz Field at Riverland Community College Wednesday night due to Marcusen Park hosting the Section 1AAA baseball tournament, and it was pitchers Jack Dankert and Zach Bollingberg combining to hold the Aces to three hits, and the Greyhounds offense did the rest in a 7-3 win.
Owatonna took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, but Austin answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame when shortstop Tony Ciola singled to start the inning, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by then-first baseman Jordan Ransom, and scored when his brother Alex doubled to tie the game at 1. Ciola was able to advance to third and scored on a sacrifice fly from third baseman Jordan Hart to put the Hounds in front, 2-1.
The Aces came back with two runs in the top of the third to take what would turn out to be their last lead at 3-2, but again Austin had an answer when rightfielder Sam Nelsen was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a double by Tony Ciola to tie the game at 3. The Hounds wound up taking the lead for good in the fourth when centerfielder Andrew Schumacher led off the frame by drawing a walk, then was forced out at second when Alex Ciola hit into a fielder’s choice. Then-second baseman Zach Bollingberg followed with a walk, and catcher Dakota Retterath later hit into a fielder’s choice to score Ciola to put Austin in front, 4-3.
The Greyhounds went on to add single runs in fifth, sixth and seventh innings to pad their lead, as in the bottom of the fifth, first baseman Nick Robertson singled, stole second and scored when Tony Ciola reached on a fielder’s choice, and the throw from Aces first baseman A.J. Vandereide to third to try to get Robertson sailed over the head of third baseman Matt Seykora and enabled Robertson to run home and score to make it a 5-3 Greyhounds lead. In the sixth, Dakota Retterath singled, stole second and scored on a RBI single from Sam Nelsen to increase the Hounds’ lead to 6-3, and in the seventh, Alex Ciola doubled, went to third on a single from Bollingberg and scored on a balk for the 7-3 final.
Pitchers Jack Dankert and Zach Bollingberg did the rest for the Greyhounds Wednesday night as Dankert got the start and pitched the first four innings, giving up the three Owatonna runs, one earned, on one hit, striking out five and walking three. Bollingberg came on in relief in the fifth inning and was also superb as the pitched the final five innings and gave up no runs on two hits, striking out seven Owatonna hitters and walking none in earning the win.
With the victory, the Hounds are now 3-2 overall and 2-1 in Twin Rivers League play. Austin will be back in action at Marcusen Park Sunday night versus Plainview in a non-league matchup, with first pitch scheduled for 6:00 p.m.