College Station Baseball Team Loses Game 1 in Regional SemifinalsSports Friday, May 23rd, 2014
By LARRY BOWEN
MAGNOLIA — The top-ranked College Station baseball team endured one terrible inning that resulted in one bad night against Huffman Hargrave, leaving the Cougars zero margin for error in their Class 3A Region III semifinal series.
Unranked Hargrave struck for five runs in a fourth inning littered by three errors, two hit batters and a walk, riding that rally to a 5-1 victory over College Station in the opener of their best-of-3 series at Magnolia West High School on Thursday night.
The fourth-round playoff will resume at 7 p.m. Friday, with the Cougars needing a win to force a third game at 5 p.m. Saturday.
College Station (30-6) dropped its playoff opener against China Spring 10-5 three weeks ago, then won six consecutive games before Thursday’s stumble.
“It’s frustrating, but I don’t know if it’s as frustrating as the first game against China Spring,” College Station coach Scott Holder said. “We actually played better baseball tonight than we did in that one. But they made the plays and we didn’t. They made great defensive plays and we hit the ball right at them.”
Falcons senior Austin Smith (10-2) frustrated the Cougars with a five-hitter. Smith, a right-hander committed to Temple College, allowed a run in the second inning and cruised through the last four innings after his teammates gave him the lead.
“I just have a lot of confidence in my team,” Smith said. “They played incredible defense tonight.”
The game came apart for College Station in the top of the fourth. The Falcons (26-5) loaded the bases with one out on a leadoff single, a walk and a hit batter. No. 8 hitter Cody Gaitan grounded a single up the middle for two RBIs, and a third run scored while Gaitan racing to third base when the ball got past College Station’s charging center fielder Cole Whittlesey.
College Station starter MacGregor Hines struck out the next batter, then hit the leadoff man with a 1-2 pitch. Clay Barnes sent a jammed shot toward second baseman Jaxxon Grisham, who bobbled the ball on a barehanded attempt then threw wildly past third as two more runs scored.
The last three runs were unearned.
“Cole came and charged the ball, which he’s taught to do,” Holder said. “I don’t know if it took a hop on him out there or he just misread it a little bit. It kind of started a little run for them. After that, I thought the ball kind of bounced their way. We had to make a play in a hurry [on the grounder to Grisham], and we didn’t make the play.”
Hines (7-2) moved up one spot in the rotation after working Game 2 of the Cougars’ first three playoff series. Sophomore left-hander Kyle Richardson, who had been the Game 1 starter, was given an extra day of rest because he had a sore arm earlier in the week, Holder said.
“We’ll stick to that decision,” Holder said. “MacGregor threw well enough for us to win tonight. The difference was two or three plays.”
Falcons third baseman Justin Waltman made a terrific backhand stab to rob Jake Georgiades of a double to start the fifth. The play was magnified when No. 9 hitter Cody Staab lined a double off the right-field fence with two outs.
Huffman Hargrave’s defense provided a brief opening in the sixth. Ryan Johnson singled and went to third when center fielder Richard Marches missed a high fly ball off the bat of Kyle Richardson with two outs. Matthew Bennett then ripped a liner into right-center that right fielder Mathew Bumpas ran down.
The Cougars went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
“They made two or three great defensive plays or we hit the ball right at them,” Holder said. “We can’t ask for any more than that. A few feet left or right [on Bennett’s liner] and that’s a base hit, probably a double.”
Huffman Hargrave 5, College Station 1
Huffman Hargrave 000 500 0 — 5 6 1
College Station 010 000 0 — 1 5 4
MacGregor Hines and Baylor Rowlett. Austin Smith and Jay Hackett. W — Smith, 10-2. L — Hines, 7-2. 2B — HH: Mathew Bumpas, Cody Gaitan; CS: Cody Staab. Records: College Station 30-6, Huffman Hargrave 26-5. Time: 1:57.
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