LIMA – Locos right-hander Carter Poiry gave the team just what it needed: a strong pitching performance.
And the longer the pitcher from Murray State went, the better he got.
Poiry threw six strong innings in the opener to help the Locos post an 8-1 first-game victory over the Michigan Monarchs Sunday at Simmons Field. Michigan won the second game 2-0 in eight innings to salvage a doubleheader split.
Both games were scheduled for seven innings.
The Locos (7-3) won two of the three games in the weekend series against Michigan (5-5).
“It was great to come out and swing it pretty well in that first game and the pitchers did well all day,” Locos coach Matt Furuto said. “In the second game, we had some opportunities early and we didn’t execute and get them in.’’
Michigan scored two unearned runs in the eighth inning of the second game to post a 2-0 win.
The Locos played the doubleheader with the same lineup in both games, as four everyday players were out with various day-to-day injuries.
Catcher Gavin Harmon caught both games of the doubleheader. Third baseman Tyler Tolve is a catcher, but the Locos would have scrambled to find another third baseman on Sunday.
“We were definitely short, but once we get some guys back, we’ll be good,” Furuto said. “We have some guys close to getting back.’’
And while the Locos came in averaging 10 runs per game, the pitching had been up and down since the start.
But Sunday gave the Locos strong pitching outings by starters Poiry and Zach Brown.
Poiry (Murray State) went six innings and gave up one run, earned, on four hits. He struck out eight and walked three.
“He’s got really good stuff and he was able to throw multiple pitches for strikes,” Furuto said. “He’s got a great fastball and he’s got great movement on it. He did a great job of getting ahead and mixing his pitches.’’
Poiry threw 98 pitches, 59 for strikes.
“I got ahead with my fastball and I threw the curveball when I needed to,” Poiry said. “I showed the change-up early and at the end stuck with the fastball.
Poiry (1-1) struck out the side in his final two innings, the fifth and sixth.
“I felt good (at the end). I wasn’t tired,” Poiry said. “The fastball was electric today. It was fastball, curveball at the end.’’
Poiry went to Lincoln Trail this past year, as he heads to Murray State in the fall.
“The key was getting ahead in the count,” Poiry said.
The Locos led 3-0 after the first inning of the opener. It was 6-1 after three and Poiry took control from there.
The Locos scored three in the first inning of the opener to grab a 3-0 lead.
Zach Sweet started the game with a single. He came home on Tolve’s RBI double down the right-field line.
The Locos made it 2-0 on Nick Colina’s sacrifice fly. Colton Frank’s parachute RBI single to left gave the Locos a 3-0 lead.
Peter Ahn’s RBI single brought the Monarchs within 3-1 in the third inning.
The Locos added three in the third to push their lead to 6-1.
The Locos’ Tim Martin had a two-run single in the third to make it 5-1. Sweet reached on an error by the Michigan third baseman, which allowed a run to score to make it 6-1.
Colina capped off the first-game scoring with a two-run double to left in the sixth to give the Locos an 8-1 lead.
In the opener, Colina hit one hit and three RBI.
Sweet and Frank were both 2 for 4.
In the second game, Locos starter Brown (Lourdes) tossed 4 2/3 shutout innings. He gave up two hits, struck out nine and walked six.
Brown threw 93 pitches, 47 for strikes.
Michigan second-game starter Easton Sikorski (Western Michigan) was outstanding in his six shutout innings. He gave up five hits, struck out two and walked three.
Sikorski threw 86 pitches, 48 for strikes.
Kyler Seemann (UNOH/Patrick Henry) threw the final 3 1/3 innings for the Locos, giving up two runs, both unearned, on two hits. He struck out four and walked one.
Michigan’s Nolan Clegg (Ohio State) started the top of the eighth by reaching on an error on the Locos third baseman. Michael Smith walked.
Will Bastian’s RBI double to left gave Michigan a 1-0 lead.
Michigan scored its second run when the Locos catcher dropped the ball in a rundown after a botched squeeze bunt.
LOCOS NOTES: The Locos travel to Newark to face Licking County on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Locos return home at 7 p.m. Thursday to face Hamilton at Simmons Field.
Locos shortstop Ryan Smith strained his quad in Friday’s game and is day-to-day.
Locos’ Alexei Cazarin (hamstring) and Xavier Haendiges (bicep) are expected back this week.
Locos center fielder Lavoisier Fisher made a leaping over-the-fence, home-run robbing catch off the bat of Michigan’s Peter Ahn in Friday’s game. On the catch, Fisher suffered a bruised knee when he banged off the fence and was unavailable on Sunday.
Through eight games the Locos lead the GLCL in hitting at .320. They also were first in doubles (23) and home runs (eight). … The Locos rank fifth in ERA at 3.84.
Smith ranks fifth in the league in hitting at .419. … Locos catcher/third baseman Tyler Tolve ranks second in the league in RBI with 12.
Four teams will qualify for the GLCL playoffs, the top two in the North Division and the top two in the South Division. The two in the North and the two in the South will play a best-of-three semifinal playoffs. The championship series will be a best-of-three series.