Tigers cruise in finale

Published 11:16 pm Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Albert Lea senior Jordan Cooper got his first victory since April 27 and the Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak Tuesday with a 9-2 victory over Austin in their regular season finale at Hayek Field.

Cooper turned in one of his best outings of the season in pitching a complete game. Cooper gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits and struck out 13. He allowed just two walks and kept his balance on the mound.

“Cooper had his best day in a long time,” said Albert Lea head coach Joe Sczublewski. “He was around the strike zone the whole day and he was consistent.”

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Cooper escaped an early jam in the first inning after he allowed the first two batters to reach base. The Packers (4-15, 3-15 Big Nine) got one run off Cooper, but he ended up striking out the side by getting Mike Tindal looking at a called third strike.

“He was keeping his balance way better and he wasn’t doing extra things,” Sczublewski said. “Sometimes it takes a while to sink in. A good time for it as we’re coming up on the playoffs.”

Cooper retired nine consecutive at one point and the Tigers (14-6, 12-6 Big Nine) got their offense going in the fourth inning.

Albert Lea pushed five runs across and took a commanding 7-1 lead after the fifth inning.

Cooper also went 2-for-3 with an RBI and started the scoring in the fifth with an RBI triple off the fence in right field.

Junior Connor Kortan went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs in the fifth inning with a double down the left field line and senior Luke Grossman went 2-for-4 with two runs.

After Owatonna held the Tigers to six hits in a doubleheader Friday, they finished with 10 hits against Austin.

“We hit the ball harder than 10 hits, too,” Sczublewski said. “We hit some line drives all over the field there.”

The section seeding takes place Wednesday and Albert Lea is likely to get the second seed and play a home playoff game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hayek Field.

Albert Lea 9, Austin 2

Austin 100 010 0 — 2 3 3

Albert Lea 101 520 x — 9 10 1

WP—Jordan Cooper 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 13 K

LP—Andrew Folk 1 1-3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K