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Bloomsburg beats Muncy with pitching, timely hitting

May 5, 2014 - Mitch Rupert
BLOOMSBURG – Two Muncy baserunners trotted off the field Monday night at Bloomsburg from the spot they had been standing for the previous three batters. It was one of few scoring opportunities which come along against a pitcher the caliber of Bloomsburg's Colton Hock, and the Indians didn't capitalize.

“Gotta get one,” Muncy head coach Chris Persing said after the game.

The Indians' first two hitters of Monday's key Heartland Conference Division III matchup reached base, but didn't move another foot. And despite a stellar pitching performance from Anthony Barberio, that missed opportunity haunted Muncy.

Hock, the Stanford-bound right-hander who is a month away from likely being selected in the Major League Baseball draft, and Colby Klingerman combined on a two-hit shutout with 16 strikeouts as Bloomsburg beat Muncy, 8-0, yesterday.

Both teams entered with just two league losses this year – both of Bloomsburg's came last week. Muncy entered just a game behind Southern Columbia, a team it beat 13-3 last week, in the HAC-III, and Bloomsburg was just 1 ½ games behind after losing in walk-off fashion to Southern Columbia, and being surprised by Montgomery last week.

“This is exactly what we needed to do, was just come out and get a win,” Bloomsburg head coach Keith Thrush said. “Last week was pretty rough losing those two games. Our guys came back and fought through. We struggled a bit early just putting the ball in play, but I think they relaxed a bit and just started playing.”

The Panthers capitalized on Muncy's uncharacteristically permeable defense, executing a pair of double steals to score runs. Tyson Thrush and Evan Ball each added clutch RBI hits against the Indians' bullpen, giving Bloomsburg a season sweep of Muncy in which they outscored the Indians a combined, 15-0.

“We talked before the game and we knew it would take a great effort (to win),” Persing said. “We knew with us all being log-jammed at the top (of the division) that we'd get Colton. We don't want to get too high or too low, we just want to come out and play our best game. I think we're disappointed in our overall effort, especially in the last two innings. That's not who we are and not who we try to represent ourselves as.”

Muncy opened the game with a walk to Maurice Brown and a slap single by Dalton Smith. But Hock got strikeouts of the Indians' No. 3 and 4 hitters and then got a ground ball to second base to end the inning with Brown still on first and second.

The strikeouts were two of the 14 Hock recorded in his six innings of work. He recorded double-digit strikeouts for the second time this year against Muncy. Hock struck out at least two batters in each inning and struck out the side twice.

The only other hit he allowed was a ringing double by Kenny Koch with one out in the fourth inning. Koch was stranded at second base. After giving up the two baserunners to start the game, Hock retired 18 of the final 20 batters he faced.

In his two starts against Muncy this year, he allowed just two hits and struck out 27. The performance came a week after he suffered his first loss of the season against Southern Columbia when the Tigers scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to win.

“He seemed much more relaxed,” Thrush said. “His last two outings, I think he was pressing a little bit. Today he came out and just did his thing.”

And his offense did more than enough to back up his strong outing. Ricky Klingerman started a fourth-inning, two-out rally when he beat out an infield single against Barberio, who had held the Panthers hitless for 3 2/3 innings.

Cole Streater followed with a perfectly executed hit-and-run to put runners at the corners. Courtesy runner A.J. Ziller then attempted to steal second base. Koch's throw to second was on time, but the tag was late and Klingerman scored from third without a throw.

Tyson Thrush followed with the first of his two RBI singles to give Bloomsburg a 2-0 lead.

Barberio was pulled after just four innings despite giving up just three hits and two runs. He struck out five and walked just one. Persing pulled Barberio in hopes of saving him for one of the three remaining games the Indians have this week.

The senior right-hander spotted his fastball to both sides of the plate in his four innings and used a big, sweeping breaking ball to keep the Panthers off-balance.

“He pitched unbelievably. Unbelievable,” Persing said. “It's a shame we couldn't make that play to get him out of there 0-0.”

“(The coaches) were preaching between innings to just go away with the ball,” Klingerman said. “The meat of our order is pretty strong, so (Barberio) was just pounding the outside. The coaches said go with it and we started to that and things opened up for us.”

Bloomsburg added two more runs in the fifth inning, an inning in which Muncy committed the first two of its five errors. Sam Miller scored on another botched first-and-third double steal play by the Indians, and Evan Ball followed with an RBI single.

“That's our game. It's what we do,” Keith Thrush said of the double steals. “The last few games we haven't had guys on base to do much. Fortunately we had the guys on base today to try some things and it worked out.”

“It's disappointing that we can't execute our base defense,” Persing said. “We've got, I think, one of the best catchers in the conference. We've got some good middle infielders and we need to execute against anybody. We've executed for the most part this year, so it's disappointing not to be able to.”

Bloomsburg 8, Muncy 0

Muncy 000 000 0 – 0 2 5

Bloomsburg 000 224 x – 8 8 0

Anthony Barberio, Leone Ghezzi (5), Andrew Zeller (6), Levi Myers (6) and Kenny Koch. Colton Hock, Colby Klingerman (7) and Cole Streater. W – Hock. L – Barberio.

Top Muncy hitters: Dalton Smith, 1-3; Kenny Koch, 1-3, double. Top Bloomsburg hitters: Colby Klingerman, 1-3, run; Evan Ball, 1-3, RBI; Ricky Klingerman, 2-3, double, 2 runs; Cole Streater, 1-2; Tyson Thrush, 2-2, RBI, run.

Pitchers' lines: Muncy – Anthony Barberio (4 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 ER, BB, 5 Ks); Leone Ghezzi (1 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K); Andrew Zeller, (1/3 IP, 3 hits, 4 runs, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K); Levi Myers (2/3 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). Bloomsburg – Colton Hock (6 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 ER, 2 BB, 14 Ks); Colby Klingerman (1 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks).

With runners in scoring position: Muncy 0-5; Bloomsburg 4-12.

Runners left on base-in scoring position: Muncy 4-2; Bloomsburg 5-4.

Pitches-strikes: Muncy – Anthony Barberio, 67-45; Leone Ghezzi, 24-12; Andrew Zeller, 27-15; Levi Myers, 14-7. Bloomsburg – Colton Hock, 90-60; Colby Klingerman, 13-7.

Batters faced-first pitch strikes: Muncy – Anthony Barberio, 17-8; Leone Ghezzi, 5-5; Andrew Zeller, 7-3; Levi Myers, 3-3. Bloomsburg – Colton Hock, 22-14; Colby Klingerman, 0-3.

Records: Muncy (9-4, 8-3 HAC-III); Bloomsburg (10-4, 6-2).


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