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GRANVILLE — Patrick Killelea could only watch as his dominant pitching performance slowly rolled away from Marquette catcher Bryce Hinkelman on Tuesday.
After Killelea carried a perfect game into the fourth inning and a no-hitter into the seventh Tuesday against Putnam County, the Panthers finally broke through and had the tying run at third base with two outs in the seventh when Killelea threw a pitch that got away from Hinkelman. The ball trickled far enough away from Hinkelman that PC’s Austin Biagini broke for home plate.
“My heart sunk a little bit,” Killelea said of seeing the ball get away from his catcher. “I was just thinking, ‘I came all this way…’”
Luckily for the Crusaders, the ball didn’t stray too far as Hinkelman was able to corral the loose ball and threw it to Killelea, who tagged out Biagini at the plate to preserve Marquette’s 1-0 Tri-County Conference victory.
“When I realized it didn’t go very far and saw he was coming, I just got to the plate as fast as I could,” Killelea said. “Bryce had good coverage on it. Once we got the final out, it was just a big sigh of relief.”
It capped Killelea’s dominant showing and gave Marquette a key TCC win.
“We definitely wanted this one,” Killelea said. “(On Monday), we lost a tough one to Westminster Christian and wanted to bounce back. It’s a big conference game, and we just wanted to get it real bad.”
The Crusaders wasted little time attacking Tuesday against PC pitcher Dan Pavlovich.
Marquette lead-off hitter Trystin Raikes singled to start the game and stole second before No. 2 hitter Jacob Martini walked.
After both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch, each held after Marquette first baseman Evan Snyder grounded out to PC shortstop Nick DiazDeleon.
However, Killelea walked to load the bases for Hinkelman, who hit an RBI infield single that gave the Crusaders a 1-0 lead.
After that, both Pavlovich and Killelea dominated on the hill.
Pavlovich allowed just three baserunners over the next five innings, and Killelea had a perfect game until he hit PC third baseman Harold Fay to start the fourth inning.
Killelea maintained his no-hitter into the bottom of the seventh when Biagini singled to right field to start the inning.
Biagini went from first to second on a sacrifice bunt by DiazDeleon and continued to third when no one covered third base.
“Not to make excuses, but we haven’t practiced on our field yet this year,” Marquette coach Todd Hopkins said. “You can go over stuff in the gym, but we just forgot to go back to third. It could’ve cost us, and it’s just something that you learn from.”
With the tying run at third with one out, Killelea struck out PC cleanup hitter Evan Kreiser to bring up second baseman Neal Stasell.
With Stasell at-bat, Killelea threw a pitch that strayed from Hinkelman, which caused Biagini to break for the plate.
“We were right there in position to tie the game,” PC coach Joey Ohnesorge said. “We took a chance, and we’re going to take chances like that. If Austin is safe, it’s a new ballgame.”
Killelea threw a complete-game one-hit shutout to earn the win for Marquette (16-2, 5-0 TCC). He struck out nine and hit one batter.
Pavlovich was the tough-luck loser for PC (10-3-1, 5-1 TCC) as he allowed one earned run on six hits while striking out five.
Trystin Raikes finished 2-for-4 and scored the game’s only run, while Jel Raikes finished 2-for-3 with a single and a triple.
Note: The teams are scheduled to face each other at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Ottawa.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.
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