Rally caps worked for the Rudder baseball team Friday night.
The Rangers put three runners aboard with two outs in the bottom of the seventh before Brayton Davis worked back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk and bring home Tyler Triola for a 3-2 win over A&M Consolidated in District 19-5A action at Ranger Field.
Rudder is just 5-15 overall and 3-8 in 19-5A but has now notched wins over crosstown foes Consol and College Station, who are both playoff contenders in the deep district.
“We’re right there,” Rudder head coach Chase Sanford said. “We just haven’t been able to finish, and tonight our kids fought through a bunch of adversity and we finished.”
Austin Waskow earned the win on the mound after striking out four in two innings. Rudder starter Felipe Gonzalez pitched well over five innings, allowing two runs on four hits. He kept Consol batters guessing with his off-speed pitches, striking out eight including five looking.
“Felipe has been giving us everything he’s got for the last few weeks,” Sanford said. “He’s really found his off-speed and been able to spot up his fastballs the last couple of weeks and been able to get us pretty deep in games. Tonight his pitch count through the second inning was pretty high, and so for him to be able to get through five [innings] was huge. And then Waskow ... I couldn’t be prouder of Austin Waskow tonight. He came out there in a very tight situation, leadoff guy got on, and he just shut the door and competed his rear end off.”
Consol’s late game pitching blunders overshadowed a strong night on the mound from starter Hunter Bond and Sam Nitzke, who combined for 12 strikeouts.
Consol took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Joe Scanlin doubled down the right-field line, allowing Joaquin Costa to round the bases and score from first. The Tigers left the bases loaded, though, which foreshadowed a frustrating night at the plate for the them as they stranded seven runners in scoring position.
Rudder pulled ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the third after a slew of singles. The Rangers tied the game after Triola scored on a Tiger throwing error. Rudder went ahead on an RBI single by Gonzalez, but Consol was able to limit the damage and get out of a bases-loaded jam when Nitzke induced a groundout to end the frame.
The Tigers tied the game at 2 in the fourth as a Rudder fielding error and subsequent throwing error allowed a runner to score from second base.
Rudder looks to build momentum against Brenham at 2 p.m. Saturday at Ranger Field then will face Magnolia West in a two-game series next week. Consol will try to regroup Tuesday at Magnolia.
“This district is like the SEC,” Sanford said. “There’s no bad teams in this district, but for us to be able to carry the momentum, carry the feeling of, hey, we can hang with guys and we can play with guys and just carry that with them in their minds tomorrow.”
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