By KEVIN HARRIS
NEW ALBANY —
Most of New Albany’s victories this season have been high-scoring affairs that last more than two hours.
On Thursday night at Mt. Tabor Field, it was back to basics for the Bulldogs.
Class 4A No. 5 New Albany defeated archrival Providence, 3-0 in a textbook victory by a Chris McIntyre-coached squad. The Bulldogs did everything that McIntyre has stressed throughout his 20 seasons, which were great pitching, solid defense and timely hitting. The game lasted only an hour and a half.
New Albany pitchers Tanner Goller and Brandon Johnson combined to throw a one-hitter.
Goller pitched the first five innings to improve his record to 4-0. The junior lefthander gave up the Pioneers’ lone hit, a two-out single by Jacob Quinkert in the top of the fifth. Goller struck out two, walked one and hit one batter.
“He doesn’t have a blazing fastball, but he has pretty good control. He’s able to spot most of his pitches pretty well,” McIntyre said. “The only trouble he gets into sometimes is that he kind of short-arms and gets under his breaking ball. But tonight, he kept his arm up and was pretty sharp with it.”
Johnson, the Bulldogs’ ace pitcher, threw two scoreless innings of relief as he picked up his first save of the season. The senior right-hander had two strikeouts and no walks.
“Actually, the plan was to go with Tanner for four innings and Brandon three,” McIntyre said. “But [Goller] was throwing so well and he only threw 44 pitches through four innings so I threw him out there another inning. The fifth inning was the only inning he had any trouble at all, so I decided it was good time to put Brandon out there.”
Goller and Johnson got plenty of support from a defense that committed no errors.
“We’ve really had three innings of bad defense this year. When we make errors, we make them in bunches,” McIntyre said. “Outside of those three innings, our defense has been really good this season.”
Sophomore Matt Sogge provided New Albany’s run production. The Bulldogs’ third baseman went 2-for-2 with three RBIs.
Sogge put New Albany up 2-0 in the bottom of the second. With two out and runners at second and third, he knocked a single into center field off Providence starter Cam Harvey that plated both Tanner Robison and Jarius McClure.
Then in the bottom of the fourth, Sogge hit a two-out infield single behind second base that drove in McClure from third.
“He doesn’t strike out a ton. He does a good job of hitting behind runners,” McIntyre said about Sogge. “He’s only a sophomore, but he stays under control and has a lot of confidence. He doesn’t get real excited about a situation.”
McClure scored twice and stole two bases. Robison went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Despite earning the loss, Harvey showed his talent on the mound. The hard-throwing freshman pitched six innings, yielding six hits, three hit batsmen and two walks. He struck seven and did not surrender an earned run.
“He’s outstanding,” Providence coach Scott Hornung said. “As a freshman, he did more than his job tonight. He did a great job, but it’s a team game and everybody has to play well. He’s such a competitor and he does not get rattled.”
Providence’s two errors came in the innings that New Albany scored. With it being a low-scoring game, Hornung said the miscues became more costly.
“When you are scoring minimal runs, it seems like mistakes are more apparent when they happen because they cost us,” Hornung said. “In this situation with it being a 3-0 game, it was really a 1-0 game. When you aren’t scoring runs and then you make mistakes, it seems to come back to haunt you. If we were hitting the ball, it wouldn’t seem like [the errors] were as big of a deal.”
New Albany will travel to Scottsburg for a doubleheader Saturday. Providence will visit Class A No. 8 South Central on Monday.
NEW ALBANY 3, PROVIDENCE 0
Providence 000 000 0—0 1 2
New Albany 020 100 x—3 6 0
W — Tanner Goller (4-0). L — Cam Harvey (4-2). S — Brandon Johnson (1).
Records — New Albany 17-2, Providence 10-7.