Greenville loses pitchers’ duel to Troy

By Gaylen Blosser

April 22, 2014

TROY – The Greenville varsity baseball team lost a 2-1 pitchers’ duel on the road against the Troy Trojans on Monday.

“Pitchers’ duel,” Greenville baseball coach Eric Blumenstock said. “(Austin) Baumgardner threw one of the best games I have ever seen him throw … had 10 strikeouts.”

The Wave went three up and three down to open inning one with Austin Baumgardner setting the Trojans down in order in the bottom of the first, striking out the side.

The Green Wave faced Zach Kendall, the ace of the Trojans’ staff, a senior headed to NCAA Division I Bowling Green State University to play baseball for the Falcons next season.

Ryan Eldridge led off the second inning with a single to center and took third on a wild pickoff attempt to first with no outs.

Back-to-back strikeouts and a fly to center kept the Wave off the second inning scoreboard.

Two Baumgardner strikeouts and a tag by Greenville third baseman Cole Ward on a Troy base runner kept the game scoreless after two complete.

Logan Eldridge reached first with a walk for the Wave’s lone third inning base runner.

The Trojans took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning with Baumgardner striking out the last batter.

Colton Nealeigh opened the fourth inning for the Wave with an infield single and took second on a R. Eldridge sacrifice bunt. A fly ball to right and a strikeout halted the Green Wave threat.

Baumgardner added a fourth inning strikeout, holding the Trojans’ lead at 1-0.

Ethan Clark opened the top of the fifth beating out an infield single. A strikeout was followed with a Logan Eldridge single to center putting runners on first and third with one out, bringing the Wave’s leadoff hitter, Cole Ward, to the plate.

Ward hit a high fly ball that fell between a converging Troy second baseman, center fielder and right fielder for a run-scoring single, scoring Clark with the game-tying run at 1-1.

With runners on first and second, a Wave bunt attempt was caught on a line by Kendall, doubling Greenville’s runner off second and thwarting the Green Wave threat.

Troy took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning with an unearned run while Baumgardner was adding two more strikeouts to his total.

A Trojans’ error had Nealeigh on first with no outs to open the sixth inning of play. Nealeigh stole second only to be stranded with the next three batters going down in order.

“We were in a position to take a lead,” Blumenstock said. “We were in position to tie this thing up multiple times.”

Baumgardner kept the Trojans out of the scoring column in the bottom of the sixth while striking out one for his 10th strikeout of the night.

Clark reached first with the aid of a Trojans’ error and was awarded second with a Troy balk with no outs.

A popup up to third and a strikeout had the Wave down to their last out before a wild pitch landed Clark on third.

Ward drilled a line drive straight up the middle only to have the pitcher make a stabbing game-ending catch.

“Cole Ward smokes a line drive back to the pitcher,” Blumenstock said. “If his glove is not there, it’s a tie game, and we are playing extra innings.

“It was a good game,” Blumenstock added. “We played well; they played well. They got the home field advantage tonight. Hopefully we can pick it up and take it back from them tomorrow.”