The lone suspense in Wednesday night’s baseball game at Center Grove was whether the host Trojans could avert the 10-run rule.

They did, but they still wound up losing to the state’s top-ranked club in Class 4A for the second time in as many days.

Carmel pounded out 16 base hits on its way to a 12-4 victory. The Greyhounds are now 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference, while the Trojans drop to 2-5 and 0-2.

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Losers at the ’Hounds’ venue 7-2 on Tuesday, Center Grove again fell down big early, this time trailing 11-1 after four innings.

“It was almost a mirror image except instead of walks … when they went up 7-0, I think they had two hard-hit balls,” third-year Trojans coach Keith Hatfield said. “Everything else was a bloop.

“We weren’t getting ahead of guys, but we weren’t getting hit hard, either.”

Senior left-hander Max Habegger picked up the win for Carmel, allowing eight hits and striking out nine in five innings of work.

“(Habegger) did a really good job commanding the strike zone. Three different pitches and different arm angles,” Hatfield said. “He was good. He knew what he was doing.

“But we didn’t quit. This team is young and inexperienced, but they’ve shown they’re not going to quit. As long as they’re not going to quit, I’m not going to quit. We’re going to get better.”

Center Grove managed to tack on two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to push the game into the sixth. The Trojans, who finished with 10 hits of their own, added another in the bottom of the seventh to conclude the scoring.

For the Trojans, senior catcher Nick Coy finished with a single and double, as did junior cleanup hitter Michael Wyman. Four of the team’s hits came from the bottom of the batting order, with sophomore left fielder Josh Johnson and junior center fielder Braden Parks each ripping third-inning doubles.

First-year Carmel coach Matt Buczkowski likes the way his squad is playing early on but knows there is room for improvement.

“I’ve been happy with the way we’ve swung the bat. I think defensively we can clean a lot of things up. Pitching-wise, we got a great performance out of Max Habegger,” Buczkowski said.

“Center Grove is a great program, and Keith does a great job with these guys. We were just fortunate to get a big lead early.”

The Trojans look to bounce back this afternoon when they play at Lawrence Central in what is a third MIC contest in as many days. Starting time is 5:30 p.m.

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.