MERRILLVILLE | Zac Ryan stood at the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning with a 0-0 tie, conscious of the fact that extra innings were possibly on the horizon.
However, the Andrean leadoff hitter lined a sharp single up the middle, plating Joe Pruitt on a close play at the plate to give the Times No. 1 59ers a gritty, 1-0 win over Munster in Northwest Crossroads Conference baseball action.
Pruitt singled and Dakota Cooper’s sacrifice bunt sent Pruitt to second base to set up Ryan's RBI single.
“That was awesome, and it was good execution by everybody,” Ryan said. “I saw (Munster) played a little shift on me towards the left, and I just tried to put it the other way.”
Ryan also pitched well, giving up just two hits and striking out eight batters. Pitch efficient, he worked four 1-2-3 innings in his complete-game outing.
“This is, I think, Zac’s best outing since he came to Andrean,” 59ers coach Dave Pishkur said. “He did things that we asked him to do today. That was the first time that (catcher) Nick Tobye and Zac played well together.”
Andrean (20-2, 11-0 NCC) had one other chance for a run, but Zach Goldasich was thrown out at home trying to score on a Tobye single in the fourth inning.
Munster (11-11, 6-5) received good pitching performances from Scott Jerge and Alex Crowe, who combined to allow five hits. Jerge left in the fifth inning due to right elbow soreness.
Munster coach Bob Shinkan was proud of his team’s effort, especially the pitching performances.
“We’re starting to put things together, and that’s what I like to see,” said Shinkan, whose team has now lost three consecutive games in the seventh inning. “We still need to learn how to win a ballgame. You’ve just got to give kudos to Andrean for coming through and setting up situations with Ryan getting that two-out hit. I’m excited for our team, but we still need to learn to win those kind of games.”