Nadolski, Owls clobber Gastonia
Owls outfield Matt Nadolski could do no wrong Friday night as the Owls romped the Gastonia Grizzlies 11-1 at McNair Field. Nadolski was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
After a slow start to the season, Nadolski currently leads the team with a .385 batting average and 11 RBIs.
“I missed the whole collegiate season so coming in this summer it was the first live pitching I’d seen in three months so I was pressing and trying to do too much,” Nadolski said of his early-season woes. “Finally I got used to it and started to relax and it’s helped me so far.”
“He needed to get at-bats early in the year,” Owls head coach David Tufo said about his slugger. “That first stretch he struck out like 10 of his first 13 at-bats but it’s a grind … we put some work in and he got his legs under him.”
Gastonia (8-12) jumped on Forest City (7-13) starter Noah Buettgen early scoring a run on two hit in the top of the first, but the Owls returned the favor in the bottom half of the frame.
Grizzlies’ starter Heath Bowers gave up back-to-back singles to Jake Rowland and Kendall Keeton putting runners on first and second.
Bowers looked like he was going to get out of the jam when Ty Barkell hit a lazy grounder to second base, but Gastonia shortstop dropped the throw from the second baseman ruining the double-play opportunity and allowing the bases to fill up with Owls.
Nadolski cashed in with a single into center scoring Rowland and Keeton. Nadolski was hosed trying to stretch it into a double, but the damage was done as the Owls claimed a 2-1 lead.
Buettgen settled in holding the Grizzlies scoreless through the next two as his teammates built the lead.
Rowland added an RBI to his stat line in the second when he singled in Nick Weybright for a 3-1 lead then Nadolski roped his second base hit of the night in the third inning and eventually came around to score on a Carl Wise double that took one bounce to the left field fence making it 4-1 in favor of the home team.
After the Wise double, Weybright walked to load the bases and Lucas Owens – the No. 9 batter in the order – cleared them with a double to center field blowing the game open and putting the Owls up 7-1.
Owens continued his trip around the bases scoring on two passed balls for an 8-1 lead. Bowers eventually escaped the inning but not after allowing five runs.
The barrage continued in the fourth.
Nadolski, for the third time on the night, blasted a pitch, this time into the left-center gap. Barkell, who reached on another error, scored as Nadolski raced into third for a triple, but he wasn’t done. The throw to third in attempt to catch Nadolski rolled to the third base dugout allowing him to scamper home for a 10-1 lead.
“You can’t aske for more than [Nadolski] and Ty Barkell in the middle of the lineup. They’ve been killer for opponents,” Tufo said.
Forest City added another run as Hunter Bryant scored from third on a double-play ball.
The scoring ceased after the fourth inning as the Owls cruised to the 11-1 win.
Buettgen notched the win pitching six innings allowing just five hits and one unearned run. Breckin Williams ended the night with an exclamation point striking out the side in the top of the ninth.
“It was a phenomal outing by [Buettgen]. He’s been great for us all year,” Tufo said.
While Nadolski was the star of the night, Rowland and Keeton both ended with three hits as the team racked up 17 on the night.
“We didn’t score after the fourth inning but we hit the ball hard all night,” Tufo said. “We got a bunch of hits and if we needed to score runs late I’m sure we would have been able to do so.”
The Owls return to action tonight on the road against the same Grizzlies team at 7:30 p.m.