Tigers baseball sweeps Faribault

Published 2:31 am Friday, April 16, 2010

The hitting stood out for the Albert Lea baseball team Thursday in a doubleheader sweep of Faribault in Faribault, but what had Tigers head coach Joe Sczublewski talking the most was the defense.

Albert Lea picked up an 8-6 victory in the first game and followed that with a 7-0 victory, but Sczublewksi was rattling off key defensive plays after another following the sweep.

The defense, which Sczublewski said at the start of the season was his biggest concern, was sharp as the Tigers made three errors in the two games, but turned in several spectacular plays, according to Sczublewski.

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In the first game Albert Lea junior Cole Sorenson started a relay from near the fence in the outfield and fired to junior Carter Kortan, who hit senior catcher Luke Grossman just in time to cut down Faribault’s Cole Casteel from scoring with Tigers hanging on to an 8-4 lead.

“The thing I was so impressed with was our defense,” Sczublewski said. “All day long we played fantastic defense.”

Grossman turned in a diving backhanded catch at second in the second game and senior Jordan Cooper made a diving catch in right field while Kortan played steady defense at shortstop throughout, Sczublewski said.

Though the defensive had Sczublewski pleased, the offense was something to talk about, too.

Albert Lea (5-1, 4-1 Big Nine) combined for 23 hits and 15 runs in the doubleheader and hit three home runs in the two-game set. Cooper hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning of the first game, which proved to be the game-winnining hit, and later hit another two-run shot in the second game.

Junior Connor Kortan hit a solo homer in the fourth inning of the first game and finished 2-for-3. Junior J.T. Bellrichard drove in two with a double in the fifth while junior Aaron Klatt went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a double. Senior Colby Strilaeff also had an RBI double in the fourth and Sorenson added an RBI single in the fifth. All nine starters had a hit in the first game.

Sorenson came on in relief of Cooper in the first game and worked out of a jam to secure the victory and then went on to pitch seven shutout innings of two-hit ball in the second game for the victory. Sorenson walked three and struck out eight in his second start of the season and first victory.

Albert Lea 8, Faribault 6

Albert Lea 000 242 0 — 8 13 2

Faribault 010 120 2 — 6 5 2

WP—Jordan Cooper 6 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K

LP—Riley Schultz 4 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3K

Albert Lea 7, Faribault 0

Albert Lea 230 020 0 — 7 10 1

Faribault 000 000 0 — 0 2 2

WP—Cole Sorenson 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K

LP—Marcus Wierschem 5 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K