LIMA – Sandusky had been smacking the Lima Locos around the last few meetings.
So Saturday was a day the Locos were able to get a little piece of payback against Sandusky.
Trevor Austin had a key hit and Bluffton’s Garrett O’Reilly tossed a strong game in a 5-3 victory over first-place Sandusky Saturday at Simmons Field.
The Locos (18-14) entered Saturday’s game one game behind second-place Royal Oak for the final playoff spot in the North Division of the Great Lakes Collegiate League.
The Locos are 2-5 against Sandusky this year.
The Locos took a 5-3 lead in the home seventh.
With two out, and the game tied at 3, Darryl Buggs and Nate White walked. They went to second and third on a double steal.
Trevor Austin (Mercer) then hit a looping, parachute, two-run single to shallow center to give the Locos a 5-3 lead.
“He threw a good curveball and I was able to put a piece on it and it fell through,” Austin said. “We were able to get those two runs in and that was big.
“It was gratifying (to beat Sandusky). They’ve been hot and for us to come in there and put a whuppin’ to them a little bit and show we can beat them gives us a little confidence going into the last couple of weeks of the season.’’
Locos coach Matt Furuto said, “He gives us good at-bats and he caught a break there and thankfully we scored two runs and that was big.’’
Locos starter right-hander Garrett O’Reilly (Bluffton) threw six strong innings, mixing his 88 mph fastball and breaking ball. He gave up three runs, one earned, on eight hits. He struck out six and walked none.
O’Reilly threw 96 pitches, 64 for strikes.
“He (O’Reilly) was great,” Furuto said. “He threw multiple pitches (for strikes) and he was throwing 85 to 87 with a little sink and can mix in a slider and a change-up. He did a great job. He’s and older guy who knows how to pitch.
O’Reilly said. “I’m trying to improve my slider and it was good to have it going again. My change-up is one I like to have it drop down right there, especially to lefties.’’
O’Reilly will return to Bluffton for his fifth year.
“In mid-summer, I got the call that I could go back for a fifth year,” O’Reilly said. “I said, ‘Yea, I’ll do it. Then, Lima called and I said, ‘Yea, let’s make it happen.’ It’s good to play again, especially at this level.’’
Dylan Freeman (Montevallo) pitched the final three shutout innings for the win. He gave up two hits with three strikeouts.
Sandusky scored an unearned run in the first.
Sandusky scored two more in the third to make it 3-0.
Three Hillier’s RBI single to center gave the Ice Haulers a 2-0 lead. Sandusky’s Mark Connelly scored and made it 3-0 when the Locos second baseman dropped a two-out popup off the bat of Nolan O’Connell.
The Locos’ White hit a two-run home run to left in the third to bring the Locos within 3-2.
The Locos’ Derrick Jackson hit his fifth home run of the year, a solo shot to left, to tie the game at 3 in the fourth.
Sandusky starter right-hander Luke Lashutka (St. Bonaventure) went six innings and gave up three runs, all earned, on five hits. He struck out none and walked two.
Locos notes: The Locos signed right-hander Jack Junker (Abilene Christian) this week.
The Locos travel to second-place Royal Oak (Mich.) today, then return home against Michigan at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday at Simmons Field. The Locos have 10 regular-season games left and five are home.
The Locos rank second in the league in hitting (.290) and are seventh in team ERA (4.90).
Locos outfielder Colton Ledbetter (Samford) is tied for the league lead in home runs with seven. He’s hitting .411.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.