Pitching Leads Hornets Into Conference Play

Austin Anderson throws to first after making the play at third during the Hornets 14-4 win over Carlyle on March 28.

By Brent Huelsmann

As the Nashville Hornets get set for conference play in the Southern Illinois River to River Conference, the Hornets picked up three non-conference wins this week as they defeated Woodlawn, Carlyle and Centralia. The Hornets were strong on the mound this week, as the team gave up just three earned runs in their three games played.

The Hornets began the week with a 9-2 victory over Woodlawn. Matt Anderson got the start on the mound, and pitched five strong innings to get his first career varsity win.

Nashville got the scoring started with two runs in the first, but the Hornets put the game away with one swing of the bat in the second inning. With the bases loaded and a two-strike count, Trevor Meier crushed a grand slam over the left field wall to extend the Hornets lead to 7-0 after two innings of play. Nashville would add two more in the fourth to go up 9-0. Woodlawn would add two runs in the seventh inning, but could not make a comeback, as Nashville took the game 9-2.

Matt Anderson went five innings on the mound, and gave up just three hits and struck out six. Bryce Bultman pitched the final two innings in relief, as he gave up two unearned runs, and struck out two batters.

After the game, Coach Chad Malawy talked about Anderson’s performance. “He’s a freshmen, to go out there and throw really well. I thought he had pretty good command of a couple pitches, for the most part he worked ahead in the count. The times he got hurt, he left 0-2 pitches over the plate and Woodlawn jumped on them, but I was really proud of the freshmen to go out there and get his feet wet with varsity baseball.”

Meier was the offensive force in the game, as his grand slam broke the game open. Meier’s slam was his only hit of the game. Andrew Kash finished 2-2 with two RBIs and a run scored. Cody Bauza finished with two hits and a RBI. Ryan Brink finished the game 1-3 with a run scored a RBI, and a walk. Brogan Kemp finished with two hits and a run scored, while Hayden Heggemeier scored twice at the top of the lineup. Jake Heck, Carson Parker, and Cameron Parker each scored a run in the win.

In the Hornets lone road game of the week, the Hornets scored 13 unanswered runs to defeat Carlyle 14-4.

Nashville went up 1-0 early behind a double from Meier, but the Indians would score the next four runs of the game, as they took advantage of errors by the Hornets. Carlyle would score one in the first, and two in the second to take a 3-1 lead.

The Indians would add another run in the fourth, before the Hornets bats woke up. After missing a home run earlier in the game, Ryan Brink crushed his second home run of the season, a three-run shot in the fifth as part of a four run fifth inning.

The Hornets offense would not be done, as Nashville put up six runs in the sixth inning to take control. The Hornets would add another three in the seventh to go up 10 runs after trailing by three early. In the seventh, the Hornets shut the door on their way to their seventh victory of the season.

Brink went five innings on the mound and picked up his second win of the season. Brink gave up his first earned runs of the season as he gave up four runs, three of which were earned while striking out five batters. Nick Paskiewicz came in in relief and pitched two scoreless innings, and gave up just one hit.

After the game, Malawy talked about the performance on the mound. “Ryan Brink was solid on the mound, it wasn’t his best day, but he pitched better than a lot of people. He gave us a great foundation to win on, and little Nick Paskiewicz came in and looked really sharp and shut the door for us.”

At the plate, Meier paced the Hornets as he had a team high four hits, to go along with three RBIs. Brink finished with just one hit in the game, but scored four runs. Brink walked twice, and had three RBIs. Bauza had three hits and two RBIs, while Kash finished 2-4 with two runs and a RBI. Heggemeier, Austin Anderson, and Cameron Parker each scored at least one run, and finished with a RBI. Kemp crossed the plate twice, while Heck scored a run and had a RBI in the win.

In their final game of the week, the Hornets got some timely its and defeated Centralia 3-0.

Nashville scored their first run in the second inning as Kash singled home Cameron Parker. That was all Kemp needed on the mound as he went six strong innings keeping Centralia off balance throughout the entire game.

The Hornets would add two more runs in the sixth inning to gain a little breathing room heading into the final inning. In the seventh, Austin Anderson got his first work of the season on the mound as he pitched a scoreless inning, shutting the door on the Orphans.

At the plate, the Hornets only managed six hits in the game. The big hit of the game came off the bat of Jacob Woodrome, as he finished 1-1 with two RBIs. Kash finished 1-3 with a RBI in the game. Meier was the only player in the game with multiple hits as he finished 2-3 in the game. Brink had the lone other hit for the Hornets.

On the mound, Kemp finished with eight strikeouts as he spread four hits over six innings. Kemp got out of a big jam in the third thanks to a great defensive play. After a deep hit to centerfield, over the head of Heggemeier, Heggemeier made a heads up playing throwing the ball into third, catching the runner in a run-down between third and home. Austin Anderson would tag the runner, ending Centralia’s threat and keeping the score 1-0. Austin Anderson pitch the final inning and did not give up a hit, notching one strikeout.

After the game, Malawy commended effort of his seniors on the mound. “I thought Brogan threw well he had good command of his offspeed pitch with his velocity. Brogan was tough on them today, and it all starts on the mound every game, he was good. Then to hand the ball to Austin Anderson and for him to look that sharp and be pain free is a plus for our program”.

The Hornets record is 8-2 as the team goes into conference play.