Spanish Springs' Nikk Audenried and North Valleys' Hunter Pierce locked up in the low-scoring pitchers' gem, but it was Audenried who was just a bit better. The Cougars' junior right-hander worked all seven innings Saturday, keeping his composure despite North Valleys baserunners sprinkling the sacks throughout the contest.
Audenried bent but didn't break. North Valleys only got to him for the one run, which came in the fourth inning. In the end, he scattered nine hits while striking out four and walking one.
"Nikk was really good again today," Spanish Springs coach Ben Hofmann said. "That's two weeks in a row he's been huge. He's saved us some arms. It was a nice job. They can hit a little bit and had guys with good approaches. He did a good job of keeping balls down. He was able to scatter the hits. They never bunched up in an inning.
"He had really a pretty low pitch count. They were aggressive early in at-bats and he had enough movement on his fastball and the slider that he throws that he got it off the sweet spot of their bats and got outs. And then we were clean defensively today."
Pierce was saddled with the tough-luck loss. He only gave up runs in one inning as well. Unfortunately for he and his Panthers' teammates, the Cougars put up a three spot in the bottom of the second inning.
One of North Valleys' two errors on the day came in that second inning as Spanish Springs scored its three runs, only two of which were earned. Pierce limited the SSHS sticks to six hits in a seven-strikeout, two-walk performance.
The Cougars struck for their three second-inning runs when Hunter Fralick started the rally with a walk. Lucas Jones singled but was forced out when Matt Mannens hit into a fielder's choice, leaving runners on the corners. Shane Lawson reached on error to load the bases. Next, Chase Kittilsen greeted Pierce with a two-run single back up the middle, giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead. Vinny Agliolo followed an RBI single, concluding the Spanish Springs scoring on the day.
"Pierce was pretty good for them," Hofmann said. "He had a decent fastball and an above-average-to-good curveball. He kept us off balance all day.
"To go from Thursday where we scored 19 to today where we get three, that's northern Nevada baseball. You're only as good as your starting pitcher and our guy was a little better than their guy from that standpoint."
North Valleys got its only run of the game in the top of inning four. Mason Blake singled and circled the sacks after an RBI single by Kody Milligan.
Spanish Springs is at home Tuesday against Galena with first pitch set for 3:45 p.m.