By Chris Damond
On a day when the Cal Ripken League’s best offense wasn’t up to its lofty standards, Alexandria’s pitching came through. Three Aces pitchers combined to allow one earned run and five hits, giving Alexandria a 4-2 victory over the Metropolitan Braves in Game One of the LCS Semifinals at Frank Mann Field on Tuesday afternoon.
“That was big,” Alexandria native Ryan Osinski (Bucknell), who pitched 3.1 innings of one-hit baseball in relief of Jacob Hartlaub, said. “I saw some people I knew in the stands, which was really nice. [The win] felt awesome, and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
The first-seeded Aces now lead the best-of-three series against the fifth-seeded Braves, 1-0.
Osinski entered in the fifth after Metropolitan scored the first run of the game and immediately recorded a strikeout to retire the side. The St. Stephens St. Agnes graduate picked up the win, striking out four batters and allowing zero earned runs.
“The fastball no one seemed to hit,” Osinski said. “Mixing that in with the changeup really seemed solid today, so I’m happy with that … [Jacob Hartlaub] went five innings and allowed one run, so he made it easy for me, and the offense helped out, too. They got runs when I needed it and having that run support is the biggest thing for a pitcher, so that was really nice.”
Starting pitcher Jacob Hartlaub (Ball State), who pitched eight innings of one-hit baseball last week against Metropolitan, continued his dominance by striking out three Braves in the first. He finished with eight strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.
But while Hartlaub excelled, Metropolitan pitcher Kristian Asbury shut down the Aces, a team that batted a league-high .303 in the regular season. Through four innings, the game was scoreless.
Metropolitan struck in the fifth and sixth, though, but the Aces responded each time in the bottom half of the inning. After six, it was a 2-2 ball game.
Then, in the seventh, Alexandria took its first lead of the game. Back-to-back bunts by Eddie Hacopian (Maryland) and Adam Tellier (Ball State) put them on first and second, before CJ Boyd (Appalachian State) walked to load the bases with two outs.
A balk put the Aces ahead, and Cade Sullivan (Western Michigan) added an insurance run with his RBI single. Ryan Brown (Ball State) picked up the save.
Alexandria managed to register 10 hits on Tuesday but left 12 runners on base. They also recorded an uncharacteristic three fielding errors, one of which led to an unearned run.
However, the Aces were dominant on the basepaths, stealing five bases throughout the game to get into scoring position. Adam Tellier, Alexandria’s leader in steals, had a team-high two on the day.
Now, the Aces travel to South County High School tomorrow for Game 2 of the LCS Semifinals. If Alexandria wins, it’ll eliminate the Metropolitan Braves from the playoffs and advance to the LCS Championship. First pitch is at 7:00 p.m.
South County Braves