With its high-powered offense held in check early in the game, patience at the plate was the difference for the Edwardsville Tigers on Tuesday at the Edwardsville High School Sports Complex.
Dylan Burris broke open a close game with a two-out two-run triple in the fourth inning and Edwardsville never looked back in a 10-0 win over Belleville West in a Southwestern Conference baseball game.
Held in check by West starting pitcher Matt Klosterman and leading just 1-0 after three innings, Edwardsville increased its lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth when Matt Zielonko and pinch runner Kade Burns worked the delayed double steal to perfection.
Zielonko was credited with stealing home just ahead of the tag by Maroons catcher Jacob Wilson.
Klosterman then walked Mitchell Krebs to put two runners on and Burris took the next pitch up the left-centerfield alley to clear the bases and give the undefeated Tigers a 4-0 lead.
“He (Klosterman) pitched very well against us. He kept us off-balance and he had very good movement on his pitches,’’ Tigers coach Tim Funkhouser said. “But I hope the kids on our bench are watching because we’ve got a lot of experienced hitters who after the first three innings did an excellent job of staying back on those pitches and making solid contact.’’
Jake Garella made ended Klosterman’s night with a two-run triple in the fifth inning and Collin Clayton punched a two-run double in the sixth for Edwardsville, which scored four runs in the sixth inning to end the game by the 10-run rule.
The win lifts Edwardsville to 3-0 in the SWC and 9-0 for the season. West falls to 1-2 and 4-9.
Edwardsville has simply overwhelmed its first nine opponents by scoring 108 runs and giving up only 12. Klosterman, battling Tigers starter Aaron Jackson pitch-for-pitch, struggled with his control as he walked five and hit three batters in little over four innings of work.
More specifically, he still kept the Maroons in the game.
“He (Klosterman) pitched very well for four innings. He kept the hitters off balance and he kept his pitches down in the strike zone,’’ Maroons coach Todd Baltz said. “He gave us a chance. We just couldn’t string any hits together and we didn’t make solid contact very well.
“You’ve got to tip your cap to him (Jackson). He made big pitches when he had too. We also struck out more tonight than we have all year. This was a good game for us to play. We’re going to be fine.’’
West managed only two hits off Jackson who pitched five innings before Garella retired the Maroons in order in the top of the sixth. The Maroons only real scoring chance came in the top of the fifth inning when Jack Lanxon led off with a single. One out later, Jackson hit Andrew Konya with a pitch to put runners on first and second.
But Jackson got out of the inning with a pair of infield putouts.
“I thought (Aaron) Jackson pitched a good game. He battled hard and made very good pitches when we needed to,’’ Funkhouser said. “But I don’t think he was as sharp as I’ve seen him. But even when maybe he wasn’t at his best, he found a way to get it done.
“Jake (Garella) threw the ball very well in the sixth inning.’’