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Edwardsville's opening game of the DSP Midwest Classic tournament at Tom Pile Field Thursday evening was pretty efficient.

Both Edwardsville pitcher Andrew Frank and St. Louis Naturals pitcher Cole Becker had their best stuff going; they combined to give up just seven hits in a game that took about an hour and 10 minutes to complete.

In the end, it was a well-timed sacrifice fly from Andrew Yancik that brought home Tyler Stamer in the bottom of the fourth for the game's only run as the Tigers opened pool play with a 1-0 win.

Frank got a couple of big plays to help his cause, including a diving catch in left field by Cole Cimarolli that robbed Keaton King of a hit and a double play in the fourth when Brian Thomas lined a shot into center that was snagged by Nathan French, who threw to Andrew Yancik at short to double off Luke Jacobsen and end the inning.

“Plays like that really help build my confidence,” Frank said. “I know that I can count on my defense to make the plays.”

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Frank didn't have a particularly good outing last weekend in a tournament the Tigers were in at Bloomington-Normal, and he was hoping for another shot to prove himself. “I wanted to prove myself today,” Frank said. “I was really pumped up for tonight.”

“The way Andrew threw tonight, it made it easy to play defense,” said Tiger coach Tim Funkhouser. “He threw a sound game, and the fact that he pitched so well helped save some arms for the weekend. It left us in a good situation for Friday's games.

“He was sharp, a lot sharper and focused. He was making some great pitches and we had a couple of outstanding plays on defense to help him out.”

Yancik's sacrifice fly also came at a good time, and Funkhouser said it came thanks to an adjustment he made. “Credit Andrew for that,” Funkhouser said. “He adjusted his swing and did enough to get the ball deep enough to score the run.”

While Funkhouser and the Tigers were glad to get the win as they did, they know Friday's games – against Team Missouri at 4:30 p.m. and Mizuno Braves Red at 6:30 p.m., both at Tom Pile Field – will require a bit more than solid pitching. “We're going to need our bats a bit more tomorrow,” Funkhouser said. “We're definitely looking forward to the challenge.”

Pool play concludes Saturday, when the Tigers meet up with the St. Louis Pirates at noon, again at Tom Pile Field. The tournament concludes with bracket play Sunday; the top seven teams will meet in games at both Tom Pile Field and Blazier Field in O'Fallon, with the final set for 2:45 p.m. Sunday at Roy Lee Field at SIU-Edwardsville.

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