Tigers explode against Colts
By Joey Crandall
Appeal News Service
In a matter of a couple of swings, the Douglas baseball team turned a potential two-run comeback into a breakout inning.
The Tigers rode the momentum of an eight-run fifth to pick up an 11-6 victory over Wooster in the Sierra League opener for both teams Thursday afternoon in Minden.
"It's just a funny game, when things like that happen," Douglas coach John Glover said. "Without that inning, it's a totally different ballgame. We were lucky to get out with that win because Wooster is a great team."
Wooster had built a 5-3 lead heading into the fifth and after Douglas second baseman Jeff Crozier led the bottom half off with a single and pitcher Tyler Hoelzen reached on an error, the Tigers launched into textbook small-ball mode.
Troy Torres came in as a pinch-hitter and laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Crozier to third and Hoelzen to second.
Sophomore Michael Whalin then belted a single off Wooster pitcher Doug Corl's foot, bringing Crozier in and moving Hoelzen to third for the potential tying run.
Wooster then brought Max Garza in to pitch and Beau Davis welcomed him with a game-tying infield single.
From there the floodgates opened.
"Hitting is contagious, it really is," said Douglas shortstop Tim Rudnick, who had an RBI single during the rally and finished the game 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored. "When one guy starts it, it just keeps going. We were talking in the dugout about what the pitchers were throwing and how they were doing it. We were just doing a good job of communicating."
Douglas ended up pounding out five hits and plating eight runs to take an 11-5 lead during the inning while Wooster brought four different pitchers to the mound and committed two errors.
The Colts, however, were far from done. Douglas starter Tyler Hoelzen stuck out seven through the first five innings but was over 100 pitches entering the sixth.
After issuing a walk to open the sixth, Douglas brought Rudnick on to close out the game.
"Tyler threw a great game in there, but his pitch count was up and we gave the ball to Timmy," Glover said. "He went in there and got the job done."
An error at second put runners on first and second, and then Rudnick issued a walk to load the bases with no outs.
"At that point I was just trying to get outs," Rudnick said. "That was the main thing, getting outs and throwing strikes. I was just trying to get out of it with as little damage as possible."
A fielder's choice from Wooster's Victor Mendoza brought a run home but Rudnick struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Rudnick then struck out the side in the top of the seventh to close the game, finishing with five strikeouts in two innings. He and Hoelzen, who picked up the win, combined for 13 strikeouts overall.
Hoelzen also helped out his own cause immensely, driving in four runs and hitting a double while Whalin, Davis, Jordan Hadlock, Crozier and Zack McFadden each added an RBI.
Mendoza led Wooster with four RBI while Corl struck out three and walked none in four otherwise solid innings of work.
The two teams will meet up in Reno Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m.