Hounds hold off late rally for win
Staving off rain and late-inning hot bats, the Austin Greyhounds held off Commanding Edge, made up of varsity and junior varsity players from St. Thomas out of St. Paul 8-5 Friday night at Marcusen Park.
Matt Raso pitched the Greyhounds out of a bases load, no out jam in the top of the ninth inning, earning the save and halting a rally that saw Commanding Edge cut Austin’s lead to 8-5 after it had led 8-3 for most of the game.
The win puts the Greyhounds record at 5-11 on the season that saw them begin 2008 with an 0-8 record.
Bryan Toov pitched seven innings to get the win, giving up three runs on seven hits with one strikeout. Toov sailed through the first two innings, retiring Commanding Edge in order before they scored twice to take a 2-0 lead over the Greyhounds.
It was the only real speedbump Toov faced other than a solo shot in the top of the seventh inning by Brian Murphy.
“Raso told me to leave it outside and I didn’t listen,” Toov said with a smile afterwards then added, “They just kept hitting it to people. It was fun to get out there and throw them over the plate.”
The Greyhounds responded three runs in the bottom half of the third, kicked off with a solo tag from John Frein to left field on a 3-2 fastball off
Commanding Edge pitcher Matt Nelson. The shot came on an at bat where Frein spent more time trying to bunt the ball.
“The whole at-bat I was thinking I needed to drag one down the line,” Frein said. “The corners were playing back.”
Frein was 1-for-2 with an RBI, two walks and two runs scored.
Nick Rohne followed with a double and then Nick Bowe drew a walk to put two aboard. Rohne would score on a single from Matt Cano and Bowe would
come around to score on a double from Raso.
“Rohne comes back with that double to keep it going,” Frein said.
The bottom of the fourth appeared to be the back breaker when the Greyhounds pounced on Nelson, driving him from the came after piling up five runs on five hits – four of them doubles.
The Greyhounds took their 8-3 lead into the eighth, handing the ball over to Alex Kasak. After getting through the eighth, the Greyhounds got off to a bumpy start in the ninth. Kirk Baglien reached on an error to lead off the inning which was followed by a double from Murphy and back to back singles from Matt Olson and Matt McQuillan.
Two runs scored in the inning before Kasak was replaced by Raso who, with the bases loaded, got a ground ball to second baseman Joe Ciola, who turned the 4-3 double-play, ending the game.
Rohne led Greyhounds bats going 3-for-5 with two doubles, a single and two runs scored.
The win was big for both Frein and Toov who were both alumni of St. Thomas playing against a former teammate in Commanding Edge coach Ray Noble.
“I was excited to be playing against my alma mater,” Toov said which Frein added with a laugh, “Even though none of them know who we are.”
“It was kind of fun to have Ray come down here to see our field, though I was kind of hoping he would be playing,” Frein said.
The Greyhounds hosted the Minnetonka Millers Saturday. Results were unavailable by press time. They will next be in action Wednesday at Waseca.