GRIFFITH | On a night that delivered a good bit of hype toward the Griffith baseball program, the Panthers needed to find a little rhythm to get things under control.
Tuesday night marked the first home game under lights for the Times No. 10 Panthers, who came away with an 11-3 win over Northwest Crossroads Conference rival Highland.
Entering the game in the fourth inning, Griffith pitcher Ryan Nunez had a rough start to that frame, but ended his outing giving up just one hit and one unearned run to help lead the Panthers.
"I give Ryan Nunez a lot of credit," Griffith coach Brian Jennings said. "He came in and established some rhythm and some pace to the game. He did a nice job putting some zeros up for us, and he's done that all year. We put the ball in play, too, a little bit."
Nunez, who admitted this game had some hype to it and was excited for the nice home crowd, simply came in and executed.
"I just throw strikes, really," he said. "I didn't want to try and do too much, just get the job done. We had a big home crowd, and it was nice. The whole team was ready, and we just came out ready to play."
Nunez had Griffith clinging to a narrow lead until the Panthers (4-5, 3-2) broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Griffith put up five runs and capitalized on two costly Highland errors.
"It was nice having the lead," Nunez said. "It's a lot easier to pitch knowing my team has my back on the mound."
Highland (3-3, 0-3) and Griffith each committed three errors, but the Trojans were hit the hardest by their mistakes. Multiple miscues by Highland fielders also dropped in as hits, and the Panthers were able to take advantage of them. The Trojans also had just two hits, and the fourth and fifth innings ended with rally-killing double plays.
Robbie Hernandez drove in three runs for Griffith, a huge game as the No. 9 batter.
"He's been doing that as of late," Jennings said. "He was pressing early on, so we just tried to take a little pressure off him and knock him to the bottom of the order."