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Hall senior starting pitcher Brett Fanning rears back for a pitch Tuesday against Marquette. Fanning and the Red Devils held off a late charge to emerge with a 10-9 Tri-County Conference win over the Crusaders. NewsTribune photo/Amanda Whitlock
Hall’s Ian Trevier sprawls out for a slide under the tag of Marquette’s Tyler Hellman Tuesday in Ottawa. Trevier and the Red Devils outlasted the Crusaders to pick up a 10-9 win in Tri-County Conference action in Ottawa. NewsTribune photo/Amanda Whitlock
With the Hall baseball team clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning in Tuesday’s Tri-County Conference opener at Marquette, Nolasco struck out Marquette’s Elliot Kowalski to start the seventh.
However, Hall catcher Blake Moreno was unable to hold on to strike three and his throw to first base went awry, allowing the tying run to reach base with no outs.
A stolen base and a sacrifice bunt later, Kowalski was just 90 feet from scoring with only one out.
Instead of letting the situation bother him, Nolasco took care of business.
He struck out Marquette’s Carter Bacon and then induced a fly out by Trystin Raikes to preserve Hall’s 10-9 victory.
“It affects you a little bit, like, ‘Man, that could’ve been an out,’” Nolasco said of the error to start the inning. “But you just have to forget it and move on to the next hitter. You can’t let that stuff get to you. You still have to pitch.”
Nolasco saved the day and helped Hall to a key TCC win.
It also prevented the Red Devils from blowing a pair of five-run leads.
“It was white-knuckle time in the seventh,” Hall coach Tom Keegan said. “Credit Danny, and we got just enough runs across to the plate to hold them down.”
Hall (4-1, 1-0 TCC) led from start to finish in Tuesday’s game as the first five Red Devil hitters reached and scored in the top of the first against the starter Kowalski. Marquette countered with three runs in the bottom of the first off Hall starter Brett Fanning, but the Red Devils added three runs in the top of the second and another in the third to take a 9-3 lead.
“We haven’t had good starting pitching the last few games,” Marquette coach Todd Hopkins said. “It wouldn’t bother me if we got hit around, but when you kick the ball and walk people you’re not going to win games.”
Down, Marquette was far from out.
The Crusaders (5-2, 0-1 TCC) pulled to 9-7 after they scored four runs off Fanning in the bottom of the fourth.
Nolasco relieved Fanning in the fifth and induced an inning-ending double play to escape trouble.
However, in the bottom of the sixth, a two-run, two-out double by Patrick Killelea cut the Red Devil lead to 10-9 entering the seventh.
After Hall went 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh, Kowalski reached on the error to start the dramatic bottom of the seventh.
“You need a 30-run lead against these guys to feel safe,” Keegan joked. “One through nine — and even the kids they bring off the bench — swing the bats incredibly well. We are very fortunate that the ballpark is extended and able to hold the ball because we used every inch of that outfield on a couple of outs.”
Fanning struck out six over four innings to earn the win for Hall, while Nolasco pitched the final three innings to record to the save.
Nolasco also went 3-for-5 at the plate with three singles, two runs scored and two RBI.
Curtiss Johnson finished 3-for-4 with three singles, two runs scored and two RBIs for Marquette, while Killelea and Logan Sparks both had two hits and two RBIs.
Austin McDonnell added two hits and three runs scored.
In all, Marquette ‘s Nos. 2-5 hitters — McDonnell, Johnson, Sparks and Killelea — went a combined 9-for-14 with six singles, seven runs scored and six RBIs.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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