April 7, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Demonstrating why he is the top-ranked junior college pitcher in the nation, Matthias Dietz recorded a nine-inning, complete-game shutout Thursday in John A. Logan College’s 4-0 win over visiting Lake Land College of Mattoon.
 

Dietz allowed no runs on six hits. He struck out nine and walked none. He improved his record to 8-1, more wins than any other junior college pitcher in the nation this spring. Moreover, his season strikeout total of 79 ranks him third-best in the country. His two shutouts rank him fifth and four complete games rank him seventh.

“I just try to stay consistent by keeping the ball down and throwing strikes,” Dietz said.

Vols head coach Jerry Halstead said he’s grown accustomed to the sophomore’s consistently solid performances.

“He put up another nine zeroes and that seems to be the norm for him these days,” Halstead said. “I thought he did a great job of getting ahead in the count. His breaking ball and change up were going well for him, too. When you can throw three pitches for strikes and bring it in there with the velocity that he does (topped out at 94 mph), he’s tough to hit and score upon. I thought he was in command the whole way today.”

The Vols gave Dietz all the run support he would need in the fourth inning off Lakers’ southpaw, Yoberth Marchon (1-1).

Logan Kaletha led off the frame with a single. A fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Tyler Robertson forced Kaletha at second. Doug Parks popped out to first for the second out, but Marshall Gilbert followed with an RBI triple and a 1-0 lead. Tyler Horchem then followed that up with an RBI single.

The Vols added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth off Lake Land reliever Rashan Moursalien. Robertson singled with one out and stole second. Parks singled him home. After Parks was picked off first, Gilbert delivered his second triple of the game. Again, Horchem followed with a big two-out RBI double.

“I thought that last hit by Tyler was huge,” Halstead said. “It gave us a little bit more of a cushion, just in case. I thought he did a really good job with his at bats today, driving in runs at a critical time.”

Kaletha, Robertson, Gilbert and Horchem all collected two hits to pace the offense. Jeff Hahs and Parks added one hit apiece.

“It was definitely huge to get this first game of the series,” Horchem said. “And it was nice that I was able to pick up my teammates with a couple of RBIs today when I had the opportunity. It’s only fair; they’ve been picking me up all season.”

Horchem said he had a pretty good view of the game from left field and continues to be impressed with Dietz.

“As far as I’m concerned, there’s nobody better in JUCO ball right now,” he said.

With the victory, Logan improves to 13-1 in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference (first place) and is 27-6 overall. Logan is scheduled to play a doubleheader at Lake Land on Saturday.