Mike Ziroli of the Brainerd Mighty Gulls pitched a complete game for his second victory of the season in a 4-2 victory over the Grand Forks Channel Cats Monday at Mills Field.
It was a pitchers' duel between Ziroli and Ryan Hawley of the Channel Cats, with Ziroli coming out on top.
"I just took it one hitter at a time and went right at them," said Ziroli, a junior from Eastern Illinois. "With wood bats you have to try to make them put the ball in play and throw a lot of strikes."
Ziroli struck out 11, gave up just five hits, walked only two and allowed no earned runs.
"I threw a lot more strikes than my first outing," Ziroli said. "I only threw two pitches all night -- a fastball and forkball."
In the top of the fourth Ziroli took a sharply hit ground ball off his pitching hand. But he continued to throw as if the mishap never happened.
"It was numb for a while," he said. "I was able to get out of that inning and it was fine after that."
"He did a great job for us," Gulls coach Eric Coleman said. "He threw strikes and that's the name of the game."
The Channel Cats' Ryan Hawley also pitched a complete game. He allowed just two earned runs, four hits, walked four and struck out eight.
The Gulls were able to capitalize and score two runs in the eighth inning off Channel Cats errors.
"This is a team game," said Hawley. "This is baseball and the errors happen. You just need to try to go out and get the next guy."
The eighth was a big inning for the Gulls.
In the top half of the inning, the Channel Cats had a runner on first with one out. The next batter hit a lazy blooper to Mike Rouse at shortstop. The batter started to walk down the line, figuring Rouse would catch the ball.
But Rouse had a different plan. Noticing how slow the batter was running, he let the ball hit his glove and roll out. Rouse then picked the ball up and flipped it to Mike McCoy at second who then threw out the batter who wasn't even halfway to first for a double play to end the inning.
Rouse led off the bottom of the eighth with a perfect bunt down the third-base line. Joe Lima followed with a single. With runners on first and third, Joe Urban hit a hard ground ball that went off the third baseman's chest. Rouse who was hustling to third was waved home and scored on the error.
With runners again on second and third, Coleman signaled for a hit and run, which McCoy executed perfectly. With runners taking off on the pitch, McCoy hit a line drive into right field that scored Lima from second. Urban advanced to third base as McCoy pulled up with a single. McCoy then stole second with the throw from the catcher ending up in center field. That scored Urban to give the Gulls a 4-2 lead that they maintained for the win.
"I gave McCoy the option to either drag or push bunt on the first pitch," said Coleman. "He decided not to and I put on the hit and run. I knew he could put the ball in play and make contact, and he did and gave us a run."
The Gulls evened their record at 5-5 in the North Division with Grand Forks falling to 5-6.
"We're going to pitch, and if we get the bats going, good things are going to happen," said Coleman. "Grand Forks is a good team and they're going to battle with us."
Tonight, the Gulls will start right-hander Aaron Parker from Sonoma State against the Grand Forks Channel Cats at 7:05 at Mills Field.
GRAND FORKS BRAINERD
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Hicks 2b 4 0 0 0 Rouse ss 3 1 1 0
Spooner 3b 3 1 1 0 Lima rf 3 1 1 0
Zaucha rf 4 0 1 0 Urban dh 3 1 0 0
Gutherie 1b 4 0 0 0 McCoy 2b 4 0 1 1
Shackelford c 4 1 2 0 Appert 3b 3 0 1 0
Jones dh 4 0 0 0 Wickham c 2 1 0 0
Grobner ss 3 0 1 0 Osequera 1b 3 0 0 1
Spasojevich lf 4 0 0 0 Laski lf3 0 0 0
Shoyer cf 2 0 0 0 Johns 2 0 0 0
Totals 32 2 5 0 Totals 26 4 4 2
Grand Forks 000 002 000 -- 2
Brainerd 010 000 03x -- 4
E --Spooner, Osequera, Ziroli. 2B --Shackelford. SB --McCoy. Sac --Wickham. LOB --Brd 5, GF 6. DP --Brd 1.
IP H R ER BB SO
Hawley 8.0 4 4 2 4 8
Ziroli 9.0 5 2 0 2 11
WP --Ziroli (2-1). HP --by Ziroli (Spooner), by Hawley (Lima), (Johns). PB --Wickham, Shackelford. Attendance -- 429. Overall --Brd 5-5, GF 5-6. Next game --Brainerd hosts Grand Forks tonight at 7:05.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.