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Walding drives in 6 to lead Cutters past Auburn

June 22, 2012 - Mitch Rupert

Mitch Walding had to settle for a single in his final at-bat Friday night at Bowman Field. There was nothing particularly special about it. It didn’t produce any runs like his previous four at-bats did.

Instead this was a run-of-the-mill single to left side, moving Yan Olmo from second to third base. It was the most ho-hum moment of the night for the 19-year old. He bested his two-day old career-best in RBIs by driving in six runs last night, hitting his first career home run and going 4-for-5 as the Crosscutters won a 3 ½-hour marathon, 13-8, over the Auburn Doubledays.

The huge night for the third baseman came just two nights after recording four hits and driving in four runs against State College at Bowman Field. He’s now 8-for-10 in his last two home games with 10 RBIs.

“I’m seeing it pretty well right now. Me and (hitting coach Rafael DeLima) and (manager Andy Tracy) have been working on some things and it’s really doing me really well right now,” Walding said. “I’m really using my hands and everything is going to together and it’s really great.”

“He got some pitches to hit and he handled them. He didn’t foul them off like the other night,” Tracy said. “It’s just the ebbs and flows of baseball.”

Walding gave the Cutters a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning when he jumped all over a 2-0 fastball and drove it over the left-field fence for a two-run home run. He added another RBI on a fielder’s choice play in the fourth inning in which two runs scored because of a throwing error.

Facing a new pitcher in the fifth, he drilled a 3-0 fastball back through the middle to score Larry Greene and Olmo. And just as added insurance, he smoked an 0-1 pitch off the wall in right field to drive in Chris Serritella.

Walding was the leader of an offense which scored 13 runs in a game for the second time in three nights. Williamsport hasn’t scored 13 combined runs in their other three games this year.

“Putting up 12 runs a game every game isn’t going to happen. It’s just not reasonable,” Walding said. “But I think we’re going to have nights where we put up a lot of runs, and nights where we don’t score many like last night.”

The offensive explosion was needed on a night the Cutters’ pitching staff struggled again. The four pitchers gave up a combined eight hits, and the defense behind them made three errors. Shortstop Roman Quinn made three errors, although two were questionable on a ground balls.

Cutters starting pitcher Delvin Perez, making his professional debut, lasted just three innings last night, walking five batters. Just 33 of his 70 pitches went for strikes.

Cutters pitchers did strike out 14 batters. It was a bright spot in a rough night for the pitching staff. Nick Hanson struck out six in three innings, despite giving up two runs. Geoff Broussard struck out five in two innings, including striking out the side in the eighth inning. And Jeb Stefan closed out the ballgame with a strikeout, one of his two.

“Probably the worst night we’ve had throwing the ball. A couple guys it was their second outing and they’ve been sitting down for a while,” Tracy said. “Six strikeouts for Hanson and five for Broussard, obviously their stuff was pretty good. We had a bunch of 2-0 counts tonight and it just seemed like we were starting everyone off 2-0, and that’s usually not a good omen for us.”

The Cutters offense pounded out 18 hits last night, two nights after coming up with 17 against State College. Chris Serritella, who was named to Baseball America’s All-America first team Friday, was 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored. Yan Olmo was also 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, and all nine hitters reached base at least once.

Tyler Greene drove in a pair of runs from the ninth spot in the order and Quinn, Brian Pointer, Olmo and Chace Numata each drove in a run.

“(Serritella) is a veteran college hitter, an All-American,” Tracy said. “He’s just a great guy to have in the middle of the lineup.”


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