LIMA — What a difference a game makes.
In the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader at Simmons Field, the Lima Locos struggled both at the plate and in the field, as the Xenia Scouts won 3-1 in Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League baseball action.
The Locos mustered just two base hits in the first game while committing four errors in the field.
In the nightcap, the Locos (10-6) put it all together, pounding eight hits en route to a 5-0 win over the Scouts (7-11).
The Locos also received solid pitching in the second game. Starter Keaton Baker (Middle Tennessee State) gave up just two hits in his five innings of work to record the victory. Baker struck out four and walked four, while tossing 81 pitches.
Locos coach Chad Ehrnsberger brought in Will Solomon (Kennesaw State) in the sixth to take over on the mound. The left-handed Solomon gave his team two innings of solid work, allowing one hit, while fanning two and hitting a batter.
Tyler Murphy (Southeastern) came in to close for the Locos in the eighth and ninth innings. Murphy struck out two and scattered two hits.
“That first game, it was just one of those that you have to try to forget as soon as possible,” Ehrnsberger said. “It was tough to watch and was tough to be a part of, but the great thing about baseball is that there’s always another game.
“We came out in the second game and put five on them in the first two innings. So, as bad as it was in that first game, I was proud of the guys on how they came out in the second game and scored some runs.”
Cody Strong (Purdue) led the Locos at the plate in the nightcap, going 3 for 4 and scoring a run. Andrew Dennis (Alabama-Birmingham) went 2 for 4 and had 2 RBIs for the Locos.
“We just came out a little lackadaisical in the first game,” Strong said. “It was a wake-up call. …We made errors and didn’t show up at the plate. Then, we came out strong in the second game.”
In the first game, the Locos scored two runs in the first inning and three in the second. Xenia starting pitcher Adam Collier went just two innings before being pulled. In his two innings of work, Collier walked four, struck out one and threw a total of 55 pitches.
Dennis had the big hit for the Locos in the first inning — a single to right that scored two.
In the second inning, the Locos scored the three runs on just two hits. Dennis had an RBI single in the second.
“Keaton (Baker), every time he’s pitched for us, he’s done a great job,” Ehrnsberger said. “He was at the point where he could only go five (innings) because his pitch-count was getting up. …But he’s going to be fine. He just needs to learn to throw more strikes and not waste as many pitches.”
In Thursday’s first game, Aron McRee (Montevallo) started on the mound for the Locos. McRee worked 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits. He struck out three and walked three. Stephen Glaze (Mercer) worked the final 2 1/3 innings for Lima. Glaze allowed no runs and no hits, while striking out one batter.
A rare triple-play happened in Thursday’s second game.
In the home half of the fourth inning with Shawn Sanders (St. Johns River State) on second and Tyler Grogg (Toledo) on first for the Locos, No. 2 batter Alex Liquori (Kennesaw State) hit a liner to Xenia left-fielder Lucas Salerno. Salerno charged the liner, caught it and threw it to second baseman Evan Robinson to catch Sanders off base. Robinson then threw to first to pick-off Grogg.
The Locos will travel to Lake Erie at 7 p.m. today. The Locos will then return to Simmons Field at 7 p.m. Saturday against Lake Erie.
Locos vs. Xenia