5-run fourth inning costly for Cyclones
In the top of the 4th inning Friday afternoon at Jim Goeser Field, Cyclones head coach Heath Stein removed Braydon Ernst from the game after he loaded the bases with no outs, forcing in the tying run on a walk and then allowing another two runs to score.
“In the past, it’s been where he [Ernst] has struggled a little bit out of the gate and then it took till the 4th inning today where he had a little lapse in command and a lapse in focus,” Stein said. “It’s kind of been his thing where he’s had one inning where he’s lost it a little bit by not throwing quality pitches like he needs too.”
Brock Lemrick replaced Ernst and pitched four innings, striking out six batters, giving up one run on five hits.
“Brock threw the ball pretty well,” Stein added. “He’s got a little three quarters action, so his ball moves a little more, so it makes it a little tougher to hit and he was commanding his curveball as well.”
The Cyclones got on the board early in the bottom of the 1st inning when Cade Sears scored on a bunt single by Quinn Koesters. Hayden Soma knocked in Koesters on the next play putting the Cyclones up 2-0.
The Cyclones bats went quiet after the 1st inning, as they didn’t score the remainder of the game.
In the top of the 3rd, Junior Eagle Mason Boothby cut the lead in half when he knocked in the Eagles first run of the game.
The Eagles scored five runs in the top of the 4th inning, then added another run in the top of the 6th to widen their lead at 7-2.
“With two strikes, they probably had eight of their hits tonight,” Stein said. “They were just tougher in the box than we were. We struck out 11 times, I believe. We need to get better with two strikes on us and be able to put more balls in play, create more pressure. If we just strikeout and popup, we’re not creating any pressure on the defense.”
With this loss, the Cyclones move to 19-12 on the season. They will have the weekend off, but are back at home Monday night taking on the 20-3 West Harrison Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes have won four consecutive games and offensively are led by Koleson Evans batting .521 with 37 hits and 31 runs batted in. On the mound, Sage Evans leads the team in wins with four, but Mason King has 59 strikeouts and a 0.45 earned run average.
“We just need to play our game,” Stein said. “We need to eliminate strikeouts, eliminate non competitive at bats and go at them.”