Greyhounds rally late and use defensive gem to defeat Waseca 9-8

The Austin Greyhounds were down 8-5 to the Waseca Braves in the bottom of the 8th inning of their Twin Rivers League matchup Wednesday night at Marcusen Park when they rallied for four runs, one earned, and saw left fielder Isaac Schumacher throw out the potential game-tying run at the plate to end the game in the top of the 9th as the Hounds held on for a 9-8 win.

Waseca scored two runs in the top of the 1st and held a 2-0 lead until the 5th when John Kirby punched a two-out, two RBI single off the end of the bat down the right field line that dropped between three defenders to tie the game at two.  The Braves came back with a run of their own in the top of the 6th, and then increased their lead to 6-2 in the 7th when centerfielder Kyle Waugh crushed a long two-run homer over the 397-foot mark in deepest left center.

The Greyhounds would not go gently into the night, however, as they rallied back with three runs in the bottom of the inning to make the score 6-5 on an error by Waseca, one of five they committed in the game and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Alex Ciola.  The Braves answered right back in the top of the 8th with two runs of their own to increase their lead to 8-5, but the Hounds again rallied in the bottom of the inning as they parlayed a two-RBI single by Michael O’Connor and two throwing errors by Waseca to tally four runs, three of them unearned to take a 9-8 lead.

The Braves also showed no sign of quit as a lead-off walk to right fielder Cam Madsen by O’Connor, who was the third pitcher of the night used by Austin put the potential game-tying run on first.  Hounds Manager Joe Ciola then brought in Alex Ciola, and a sacrifice bunt by Braves catcher Zach Hoehn moved Madsen to second with one out.  Ciola struck out third baseman Uriah Possian for the second out, but shortstop Cody Ulfers hit a broken-bat single into left field.  Isaac Schumacher, who had come into the game as a defensive replacement in the 9th inning charged the ball, fielded it and then fired a strike to the plate to catcher Hunter Guyette, who then applied the tag to Madsen for the third out to clinch a pulse-raising win for the Greyhounds.

Guyette had two of Austin’s seven hits in the game in four trips to the plate along with a walk, Dan Bollingberg was 2-for-5 and scored three runs, Alex Ciola wound up 1-for-3 with a double, a run knocked in, three runs scored and two walks, Jordan Hart was 1-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base and a run scored, John Kirby was 1-for-1 with 3 RBIs and a walk and Angel Santiago was 0-4, but his slow roller to short in the bottom of the 8th led to a throwing error on Braves shortstop Cody Ulfers that brought in the tying and eventual game-winning runs for the Hounds.

Josi Bothun got the start on the mound for Austin Wednesday night and pitched the first four innings, giving up two runs on five hits, striking out five and walking three.  John Kirby went to the mound in the fifth and pitched three and a third innings of relief, giving up five runs on three hits, striking out one and walking four before giving way to Michael O’Connor in the eighth.  O’Connor was credited with the win, pitching one inning and giving up a run on a hit, striking out one and walking three.  Ciola earned the save in the ninth, giving up no runs on one hit and striking out one.

Austin returns to action tonight (Thursday) as they travel to Mayo Field to take on the Rochester Royals, with first pitch at 7:30 p.m.