Basic baseball coach Scott Baker only planned to use Tanner Roundy for two, maybe three innings of relief Thursday.
But considering the way Roundy was throwing, Baker decided to alter his strategy.
Roundy pitched four perfect innings, and the No. 8 Wolves scratched out four runs in the final two innings to gain a 6-2 victory over host Liberty.
“I think it’s big not only because they’re a quality opponent but because we haven’t really been playing well,” Baker said. “It doesn’t really matter who we’re playing against right now, we just want to make sure we’re doing all things right, and today we did a lot right.”
Roundy is expected to start Monday’s Southeast League opener against Green Valley, and Baker didn’t want to use up his 6-foot-3-inch senior left-hander. But Roundy breezed through his first three innings in 32 pitches, leaving him no choice.
“I ran with him,” Baker said.
Roundy struck out four, including the final two batters, and allowed only three balls out of the infield.
Cory Wills went 2-for-4, and he cued a run-scoring single past Liberty third baseman Omar Ortiz to put Basic ahead 3-2 in the sixth inning. Jack Wold was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Ryne Nelson and Josh McLean also had two hits apiece for the Wolves (7-3).
Basic tacked on another run in the sixth courtesy of an error, and two more errors by the fourth-ranked Patriots (7-3) allowed Basic to score twice in the seventh.
The Wolves scored three of their six runs with two outs.
“We had quite a few two-strike, fight-off-and-put-balls-in-play. That’s kind of what we preach,” Baker said. “We kind of figured it was going to come down to who got the big hit, who manufactured a run. When you’ve got two quality teams playing like that, that’s kind of what you’re looking for is push some runs across and get the lead, and our pitching held up.”
Basic took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Nelson drew a two-out walk, stole second and went to third on a balk before scoring on Wold’s single up the middle. In the second, Wills reached on a bunt single, and after stealing second, scored on Roger Riley’s two-out single.
Liberty tied the game in the bottom of the second, running up Wills’ pitch count in the process. Jonny Gilleres drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the Wolves’ lead to 2-1, and one out later, Brandon Soratos scored to tie the game when the ball got away from Riley on the third strike to Preston Pavlica.
Contact reporter David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.