Tyler Oglesby was outstanding Friday against ABAC, giving up one run on three hits, while striking out five during a dominating 6-1 win by Darton, which avenged a loss to the Stallions earlier in the week. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — Don’t talk to Tyler Oglesby about strikeouts.
He can take ’em or leave ’em.
And that’s just fine with Darton College, where Oglesby is the other half of the Cavaliers’ ironic 1-2 punch on the mound.
Matt Aldrich lives and dies on the K, and is leading the NJCAA.
“Getting a strikeout is the last thing on my mind,’’ he said after cruising past ABAC, 6-1, on Friday night at Darton.
Simply put, while Aldrich blows batters away, Oglesby says, ‘Go ahead and hit it — right into the ground.’
Oglesby made it look easy Friday night, giving up just three singles and living off groundballs.
That included three back-to-the-mound grounders that he took care of himself. He had only one bad inning and finished his third complete game in a row in Maddox-esque fashion — efficient and in control.
It’s impossible to compare anyone — especially a college pitcher — to Greg Maddox, but that’s the kind of game Oglesby had Friday as he needed only 96 pitches to take care of ABAC.
“He’s been unbelievable all year,’’ Darton coach Scot Hemmings said. “Aldrich has gotten all the attention because of the strikeouts, but Oglesby has had a great freshman season for us.’’
Hemmings wanted Oglesby to come to Darton before he met him, and after watching a workout last May, Hemmings offered Oglesby a scholarship right then and there.
“When I got the job I went after him, and when I saw him in the workout, I offered him on the spot, and he signed that day,’’ Hemmings said. “I knew he would be a No. 1 or a No. 2.’’
Oglesby has had three tough losses, but after slamming the door on ABAC on Friday, he is now 6-3 with an ERA of 1.95.
Darton needed that door slammed.
ABAC had just handed the Cavaliers their second conference loss of the season Tuesday when Matt Fryman slapped a two-run, two out single in the bottom of the eighth to lift ABAC to a 6-4 win. Before that second region loss, Darton had lost only to West Georgia Tech, but the Cavs bounced right back and beat West Georgia in the next game, as well.
They followed the same scenario Friday.
“Yeah, we came out with a little bit of vengeance,’’ designated hitter Tripp Calhoun said. “There was a little bit of trash talk this week. It was all fun and games.”
Calhoun went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs. His two-run double in the seventh gave Darton a 6-1 lead and all but nailed the game down. Oglesby did the rest, retiring 14 of the last 15 he faced.
“He was lights out,’’ Calhoun said of his pitcher.
Oglesby had one headache inning when he walked a couple and hit a batter to load the bases with one out in the fourth. Hayden Kudela ripped a single to left to close the score to 2-1, and wouldn’t you know it, Fryman came to the plate with the bags juiced.
No problem this time. Oglesby got yet another ground ball — one that the Darton infield turned into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
“No, I wasn’t thinking (about Fryman’s hit on Tuesday),’’ Oglesby said. “I was just thinking about making a pitch. I threw a fastball on the outside and he hit into the double play.’’
That was Oglesby’s blueprint from his first pitch to his last.
“I just wanted to throw a lot of fastballs and let them hit into groundouts,’’ said Oglesby, who recorded 15 outs on grounders. “I’m not thinking about striking anyone out. I just want to throw strikes, get ahead with my fastball and let them hit it and let my defense take care of it. Our defense is that good.’’
Darton’s defense looked brilliant in the fourth when Bryant Alonso, Cody Wofford and Parker Nix turned the 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.
“That was a dangerous inning,’’ Hemmings said. “We got the double play to get out of it. That fourth inning could have changed the whole complexion of the game.’’
Oglesby walked only three over nine innings, including the two in the fourth, and finished with five strikeouts — which is pretty high for him.
“In my last two complete games, I had only one strikeout in each of them,’’ he said. “I don’t care about the strikeouts.’’
ABAC (18-21 and 6-12 in the conference) got the point.
“Their pitcher did a real good job,’’ said ABAC coach Steve Jansousek, whose team meets Darton in a doubleheader today beginning at 1 p.m. “He kept us off balance, and threw his fastball above our hands. When you get three hits you’re not going to win. He pitched well, and they played some real solid defense. Pitching and defense wins, and they got ’em.’’
Darton, ranked No. 12 in the nation, is now 29-9 for the year and 16-2 in the conference. The Cavs banged out 12 hits Friday, including a pair of doubles from Wofford and a double and two singles from Nix, who drove in two runs and scored twice. Kevin Manos added pair of infield singles.
It was that kind of day for the Cavaliers, who showed again their ability to bounce back from a loss.
“We came down to take care of business,’’ Oglesby said. “We didn’t let that loss affect us.’’