Three hits won't win a team too many baseball games, but Hollidaysburg showed it can be done Saturday.
Solid pitching and flawless defense carried the Golden Tigers to a 5-4 victory over Bishop Carroll in the opening round of the 2011 Curve Classic at a chilly Blair County Ballpark.
Nathan Pope survived a shaky first inning and went on to strikeout seven while walking just one in six innings. Jeremy Budd set the Huskies down in the order in the seventh to preserve the win.
Right fielder Dane Scallen helped Budd nail down the victory with a diving catch near the foul line for the game's final out.
"Anytime you get just three hits, you're flirting with disaster. Our pitchers did a great job, and the defense made some nice plays behind them," Hollidaysburg coach Jon Szynal said.
Hollidaysburg plays Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic in the tournament semifinals today at 11:15 a.m. The Marauders qualified with an 8-2 win over Ridgway Saturday.
The winner of that game advances to the tournament championship scheduled for 2 p.m. today.
The Golden Tigers managed just three hits in their season opener too but managed to win that game as well.
"We're 2-0, and we have just six hits," Szynal said. "With the weather, the hitters haven't seen much live pitching. They'll come along as the season goes on."
Bishop Carroll jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. After Dylan Link walked to open the game, Nick Lassak moved him to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run play through the right side of the infield.
Lassak stole second, and Taylor Makin brought home both runners with a single to right just past a diving Chris Storm.
Consecutive singles by Josh King and Ryan Woo loaded the bases with just one out, but Pope retired the next two batters to escape further damage.
"The bottom of our order has struggled so far this season. We just couldn't that timely hit we needed in that situation," Bishop Carroll coach Matt Pfeil said.
Hollidaysburg took advantage of four walks to tie the game in the bottom of the first and scored three more runs in the second to take a 5-2 lead.
Brett Hileman's single to center scored Jordan Baum, who was running for catcher Damian Lascoli. Lascoli led off the inning with a long fly ball that center fielder Brett Sammarco dropped for a two-base error.
One-out later, Pope singled, moving Hileman to third. Hileman then scored on a wild pitch, and Pope came around when shortstop Drew McCabe misplayed a line drive off the bat of Corey Barr.
"We held them to three hits, but we made too many mistakes," Pfeil said.
Lassak relieved Woo to start the fourth inning and shut down Hollidaysburg the rest of the way, striking out seven of the nine batters he faced.
He also got the Huskies back in the game with a long two-run homer in the fifth inning. The blast nearly cleared the bleachers behind the left field fence.
"That was a shot," Pfeil said. "He gave us a chance with his bat and his arm, but we couldn't take advantage."
BISHOP CARROLL (4): Link 2b 310, Lassak lf-p 422, McCabe ss 401, Makin c 302, King 3b 301, Woo p-lf 302, Sammarco cf 300, Tatarko rf 300, Strong 1b 110, Maruca dh 100. Totals 28 4 8.
HOLLIDAYSBURG (5): Hileman ss-2b 311, Burger 400, Pope p-ss 321, Scallen rf 000, Schimminger dh 210, Barr lf 301, Storm 2b 200, Budd p 000, Ford 1b 200, Gallagher cf 200, Lascoli c 300, Baum cr 010. Totals 24 5 3.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Bishop Carroll.200 002 0 4 8 3
Hollidaysburg.230 000 X 5 3 0
E McCabe 2, Sammarco. HR Lassak. RBI Lassak 2, Makin 2, Hileman, Barr, Ford. WP Pope. LP Woo. SO Woo 4, Lassak 7, Pope 7, Budd 1. BB Woo 5, Lassak 1, Pope 1.
Records: Bishop Carroll (2-2); Hollidaysburg (2-0).