Oliver pitches Dayton to win
DAYTON – Yerington was knocking on the door the last two innings, but was unable to knock it down thanks to some clutch pitching by Connor Oliver.
Oliver pitched out of a first-and-third situation in the sixth and a bases loaded jam in the seventh to spark Dayton to a 3-2 Northern 3A win Wednesday afternoon.
The win gives Dayton a 7-9 record with just two games left against Yerington on Friday. The win also clinched a spot in the league tournament.
“I thought he threw well,” Dayton coach Jay Merrell said. “I thought he lost his fastball a little toward the end of the game. He’s a grinder.”
“I think I could have been more consistent,” Oliver said. “I threw strikes when I needed to and got a lot of help from the defense.”
In the first five innings yes, but in the last two it was all Oliver, who struck out 10 total and four in the last two innings.
In the sixth, Yerington’s Sergio Cruz walked, went to second on a wild pitch and stole third. Tyler Peeples followed with a walk. The rally ended when Oliver fanned Cody Villalobos.
In the seventh, Oliver fanned Cole Aiazzi and Mike Garner to start the inning. The Lions quickly loaded the bases on a single by losing pitcher Burke Bristol, a double by Kenny Skalla and an intentional walk to Jarrod Adams. Oliver caught Russell Lacey looking at a nasty curveball with the count 2-2 to end the game.
Oliver scattered eight hits to get the decision over Bristol, who allowed nine hits and pitched shutout ball over the final five inning.
All the scoring was done in the first three innings.
Dayton struck first, scoring twice in its first at-bat. Oliver hit a one-out single and scored on a double by Tim Doyle, who was later picked off. Houston Berntsen singled, stole second and went to third when the throw went into centerfield. Kyle Farnworth followed with a run-scoring single.
The Dust Devils made it 3-0 in the second on a hit batsman, a walk and run-scoring single by Oliver, who went 3-for-3 with a run and RBI.
Yerington cut the deficit to 3-2 in the second when Aiazzi doubled and scored on Garner’s opposite-field triple. Garner scored on Bristol’s infield roller to second. Skalla singled and Adams doubled to put runners on second and third, but Oliver retired Lacey to end the threat.
“I think they were sitting on my fastball away,” Oliver said. “They were taking it that way.”
Neither team scored the rest of the way, though Yerington had better chances than Dayton, especially in the sixth and seventh.
The teams continue the series at Yerington with a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. Friday.