Oak Ridge’s first game of the 2011 baseball season kicked off with an epic pitcher’s duel between the host Trojans and Del Campo Wednesday, won by Oak Ridge in 10 innings.
Oak Ridge starting pitcher Austin Ales was near unhittable from the start. Inning after inning. he kept Del Campo at bay in the batter’s box and overall threw eight no-hit innings as he and Chris Muse-Fisher combined on the sparkling extra inning no-hitter.
Back and forth, the teams took their cuts on offense but neither squad came through with a run. Ales was pulled after the eighth after racking up seven strikeouts in the game while allowing just one runner on base with a hit by pitch.
Muse-Fisher took the mound for the ninth inning and retired the Cougars 1-2-3. Oak Ridge also failed to break through sending the game into the 10th inning.
Again Muse-Fisher (four strikeouts) made easy work of the opposing hitters and the Trojans went to the plate with daylight running out.
After Mason Watkins flew out to center field and Saxon Elkins popped up to short, Oak Ridge needed a big two-out rally — and got it.
Alec De Watteville ripped a base hit up the middle to keep Troy’s hopes alive and Cole Hansen walked. Luke Eicher (2-for-5, double) worked the count to his favor and drilled a walk-off base hit up the middle to easily score pinch runner Booby Gatta with the game’s only run.
“We played really well. I thought our pitching was excellent and I was happy to see we stayed composed,” Oak Ridge coach Todd Melton said. “I felt like we had bad approaches on the off-speed (pitches) we saw but we’re going to learn from this game and get better from here.
“Pitching is definitely our strength. We have a great staff of pitchers on our roster. We have a lot of depth and there are multiple guys we can count on to go in at any point and get the job done.”