By KEVIN HARRIS
CLARK COUNTY —
All good teams have a point in the season when they get on a roll.
That is what is happening for the New Albany baseball team right now.
The Bulldogs extended their winning streak to seven games on Thursday night at Memorial Field, defeating Class 2A No. 7 Providence 11-3. It was another solid night at the plate for New Albany as it collected nine hits.
“About the last 10 days, we’ve been locked in pretty well at the plate,” Bulldogs’ coach Chris McIntyre said. “We haven’t been bad offensively all year. We’ve had some pretty good swings the last 10 days or so.”
New Albany’s big inning was the top of the third when it scored five runs to take a 6-0 lead.
Junior Tucker Marcum led off the frame with a triple to right-center field gap in the Pioneers’ spacious ballpark. After Jarius McClure struck out against Providence starting pitcher Jon Davis, the Bulldogs’ Logan Striegel advanced to first base on a wild pitch after fanning on the third strike. Meanwhile, Marcum scored from third to put New Albany up 2-0.
Later in the inning with the bases loaded and two out, Striegel came home from third on a Providence error to extend the Bulldog advantage to three runs.
Then Brady Parr supplied the biggest hit of the game. The junior first baseman smacked a triple to left field that rolled all the way to the fence, clearing the bases and giving New Albany (13-4) a 6-0 lead.
“I’ll tell you why it was a good inning because a lot of those at-bats were with two strikes,” McIntyre said. “We’ve spent a lot of time working on and talking about two-strike hitting with guys in scoring position.”
The Bulldogs’ lead grew to 7-0 in the fourth as Jack Shine smacked a shallow single to left-center go score Marcum from third.
Providence (11-6) cut into New Albany’s lead with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Drew Campbell began the inning with a double to center and then moved to third on a Tyler Payne base hit.
That was followed by a deep triple to left by Justin Starr off Bulldog starter Brandon Johnson to plate both Campbell and Payne. Starr later scored from third when Tyler Simms hit into a 5-4-3 double play to slice New Albany’s advantage to 7-3.
But that was as close as the Pioneers would get.
The Bulldogs tallied four runs in the top of the seventh. Marcum and Striegel each had RBI singles, and teammate Garrett Sherrell lined a two-run single to left.
Marcum went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI, while Shine was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. New Albany’s A.J. Nixon scored twice.
Johnson improved his record to 5-0, giving up three runs (all earned) on five hits. He struck out seven, walked four and hit a batter. Johnson came off recording a two-hit shutout in the Bulldogs’ 3-0 win against Evansville North last Saturday.
“Compared to last Saturday, it wasn’t very good. But he pitched as well Saturday as he could pitch. He struggled with his control a little bit and didn‘t have command of his breaking ball tonight like he did Saturday,” McIntyre said about Johnson’s outing against Providence.
Campbell went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Davis was the losing pitcher, giving up seven runs (two earned) on five hits in 3 1/3 innings with four walks and two strikeouts.
It has been a rough week for Providence. Silver Creek pitcher Lucas Barnett pitched two-hit shutout versus Providence in the Dragons’ 6-0 win on Tuesday. Then the Pioneers blew a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh to fall 4-3 at Madison on Wednesday.
“We talked about before the game that in order for us to play competitively against teams that we should play competitively against, we have to have people make plays,” Providence coach Scott Hornung said. “New Albany’s first four runs were basically some of our leaders not making plays. When we do that and we put ourselves in a hole, that makes it too difficult to dig back out of sometimes. I’m disappointed in the fact that we don’t make plays.
“My disappointment just falls in the fact that the people that I’m counting on to make plays aren’t making plays. Until that changes, then the results are going to be the same.”
New Albany travels to Bloomington South today. Providence will host Southwestern on Tuesday.