The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

April 10, 2014

West opens baseball season with win over Austin

West opens baseball season with win over Austin

MANKATO — Alex Goettl pulled two pitches down the third-base line, just going foul.

With the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning, the Mankato West junior third baseman needed to deliver with two outs.

"I love the big moments," Goettl said. "It's a lot more exciting."

Goettl's two-run double to right-center in the sixth inning keyed Mankato West's 5-2 victory over Austin in a season-opening Big Nine Conference baseball game Thursday at Franklin Rogers Park. The Scarlets exploded for all five runs in the sixth inning, just after Austin had taken a 2-0 lead.

"It's for our competitive spirit," West coach Ethan Anderson said. "We made a mistake that allowed them to score, but our guys kept competing. This is a group of seniors and juniors who have played a lot, and they know they have to keep battling and not get down."

West starter Ryan Schlichte sailed through the first three innings, walking two but striking out seven. Austin got its first hit in the fourth, but Schlichte followed that with two more strikeouts.

West had a good chance to score in the third when Steven Nessler singled, stole second and took third on a wild pitch. Tyler Stoffel walked and stole second with two outs, but the Scarlets couldn't convert.

Austin finally scored in the sixth inning, when an infield single scored the runner from second with two outs. Another single made it 2-0, and Josh Cook came in to replace Schlichte, who had thrown 102 pitches.

"I'm not going to horse around with his arm this early in the year," Anderson said.

In the bottom of the sixth, Nessler doubled and Stoffel singled. Conor Wollenzien walked to load the bases with one out. Devin Ries was hit by a pitch to force in one run before Goettl slapped the two-run double. Cook scored a run with an infield groundout, and Schlichte cracked an RBI single to right for a 5-2 lead.

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