The Cougars scored five runs on five hits in the first inning -- all for extra bases -- and never looked back.
“I thought we had a good approach at the plate. We hit a lot of balls in what we call the pie (middle) part of the field, which I appreciate,” SSHS baseball coach Ben Hofmann said. “We’ve been working on that, so that was good. Guys made a real effort to hit the ball where it was pitched.”
In the top of the first, Kenny Semenko doubled home the game’s first run and then he took the scenic route home when Lucas Jones crushed a two-run blast over the left-field fence.
Vinnie Agliolo tripled to the gap in right-center field and Jeff McCusker doubled him in for a 4-0 lead. An infield groundout plated McCusker, capping the five-run rally.
Spanish Springs got two unearned runs in the second inning without needing a hit and was helped by four Hug walks.
The Cougars were back at it in the third. Following back-to-back walks to start the inning, Semenko dropped a single into no-man’s land in shallow center field, loading the bases for Jones. Jones delivered his second two-run hit with a single that increased the lead to 9-0.
Spanish Springs forged ahead 11-0 on an infield groundout and a sacrifice fly by McCusker.
A sacrifice fly by Gehrig Parks padded the cushion to 12-0 after the top of the fourth.
Cougars pitcher Nikk Audenried was perfect through 3 2-3 innings on the mound until he walked Raymond Kerr in the bottom of the fourth frame. Audenried then lost his no-hitter and shutout bid when Nathan Cain singled through the right side of the infield. Kerr came home from second and Cain circled the sacks when the throw to third base went out of play, cutting the deficit to 12-2.
Audenried picked up the pitching win by allowing one earned run over four innings of work. He allowed one hit and one walk, while striking out eight. The trio of 1-2-3 innings to start the game included a string of six straight strikeouts.
“Nikk was good again. We’ve been real good on the bump the last couple of weeks with an exception or two,” Hofmann said. “Nikk was real good and did what he was supposed to do. He threw strikes and got ahead of batters. When Nikk gets ahead of guys, he has different ways to get them out, and he was effective that way.”
Spanish Springs had one big rally left and it needed it in order to send everyone home early via the 10-run mercy rule.
The Cougars posted a four-sot on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth to go ahead by a 16-2 score.
Pinch hitter Shannon Kelly singled to lead off the top of the fifth. Three wild pitches scored him.
Consecutive walks set the table for pinch hitter Jake Haley, whose two-run double made it a 15-2 ballgame.
It looked like Haley would be left stranded until Parks laced a two-out double on the seams to deep right-center field, concluding the visiting team’s scoring.
Parks relieved Audenried in the fifth. After recording two outs to start the inning, Parks gave up a single and hit a batter before those runners both scored on a Joe Jones base hit. Jones was tagged out at third to end the game.
Lucas Jones had a big day at the plate. He went 2-for-2 and contributed to seven of the Cougars’ runs. He drove in four RBI with a home run and double and scored three runs of his own.
Matt Mannens also scored three runs and did his job as a leadoff hitter by drawing three walks. Semenko added two hits and two RBI in the win.
Spanish Springs (11-4, 7-3) will look for a sweep when it hosts Hug Saturday at 11 a.m. but Hofmann knows it will be a different game with Kerr on the mound for the Hawks.
Reed 7, Carson 5
Reed was also on the road Thursday, but needed a last-inning rally to come away with the Div. I North win.
Tied at 5-5 in the top of the seventh with two outs and nobody on, Tyler Starley broke the deadlock with a solo shot.
The Raiders added an insurance run. Mark Nowaczewski singled. Pinch runner Jake Lehmann stole second and came home on a Brandon Koszuth single. Koszuth went 3-for-3 with a double and two singles to lead the Raiders’ 14-hit attack.
Nowaczewski took the mound in the bottom of the seventh and closed the door for the save.
“It was a real big win for us, especially coming off the North Valleys loss. That dug us a hole,” Reed baseball coach John Phenix said. “We need wins and can’t keep splitting or losing two games in a row. We’re at the point where we need to win.”
Reed jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the top of the first. Joey Dice went deep on the first pitch of the game. Then Starley scored on a Koszuth double.
However, Reed starting pitcher Thomas Sertic got in trouble in the bottom half of the inning, giving up four runs on four hits and two walks.
Casey Higgins drove in a run in the top of the second, cutting the deficit in half, 4-3.
A two-run rally by the Blue and Gold in the third reclaimed the lead for the east Sparks school, but Carson tied it up with a run in the bottom of the third. The scored remained 5-5 until the seventh.
Sertic earned the pitching win after the seventh-inning rally.
Dice, Nowaczewski, Starley and Brett Chaney all added two hits.
Reed (10-6, 6-5) will conclude the two-game series today at 4 p.m. at Aces Ballpark.