TUCSON, Ariz. – The Wesleyan University baseball team rallied from four deficits on Monday afternoon in the first game of a doubleheader against Greenville University, as the Cardinals utilized a two-run sixth inning to claim a 7-6 victory during a seven-inning affair in Tucson, Ariz.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- The Cardinals (2-0) were trailing 6-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth, and had six outs left to work with. Sophomore Kevin Walek's good eye resulted in a leadoff walk, and then he advanced to second off a sacrifice play by sophomore Tanner Fulkerson. Wesleyan quickly put a pair of runners in scoring position, as sophomore Jonny Corning reached on an error and advanced to second, while Walek was standing 90 feet away at third. Sophomore Alex Cappitelli reached on an error by the shortstop, and picked up an RBI, as Walek crossed home plate with the game-tying run.
- Senior Matt Jeye was next in the order, and the Holliston, Mass. native made an intelligent baseball play, getting under a pitch from Panthers sophomore Logan Murphy en route to driving a sacrifice fly to deep left field, which allowed Corning to tag up with the game-winning run.
- Cardinals junior pitcher Ryan Earle (1-0, one save) earned the win on the mound, working the final 1 2/3 innings, giving up no runs and only allowing one hit. He sent two batters back to the dugout with strikeouts.
- In the top of the first, junior Adam Lamb connected on a one-out single to center for the Panthers (1-5), and then eventually scored the game's first run on a wild pitch with two down in the frame.
- Earle did not want the deficit to sit for long, as he led off the second with a solo shot over the right-field fence, evening the game at 1-1. Walek knocked in junior Danny Rose with a two-out triple to right, giving Wesleyan a 2-1 cushion, as Rose originally got on base with a one-out double to center.
- Greenville jumped back in front with a two-run showing in the top half of the third. Sophomore Chandler Dix earned a leadoff walk, and senior Jesse Getz did not leave him on the base path for long, as he drove an RBI triple to center field, knotting the game at 2-2. Getz crossed home plate with the third Panthers' run on a one-out RBI single to center by senior Travis Ralls.
- Wesleyan played the comeback role again in the fourth, evening the game at 3-3 on a two-out, RBI single to center by Walek. Rose scored on the play, and he also got the ball rolling in the inning with a one-out double to left. Next, Fulkerson recorded a double to right, and Walek used his foot speed to score all the way from first, giving Wesleyan a 4-3 lead.
- In the top of the fifth, the Panthers used sacrifice flies by Lamb and Ralls to take a 5-4 lead, and then Cardinals sophomore Chase Pratt ripped an RBI single to center in the bottom of the frame, tying the score at 5-5. Dix gave Greenville a 6-5 cushion in a high-intensity situation in the top of the sixth, as he belted a two-out, RBI double to left, plating sophomore Klaiton Wolff, setting the stage for Wesleyan's last push.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Walek went 2-for-2 at the dish for Wesleyan, compiling two hits, a triple, two runs scored, two RBIs and a walk, while Rose went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two runs.
- Ralls went 2-for-2 in the batter's box for Greenville, to go along with two RBIs, and Getz (1-for-3, two runs, RBI) and Dix (1-for-1, two runs, two walks, RBI) also played well for the Panthers.
- Wesleyan's four pitchers, featuring sophomore Alec Olmstead, senior Stephen Howard, sophomore Nolan Webb and Earle combined for 10 strikeouts. Junior Bryce Pearce, sophomore Austin Rexroad and Murphy rattled off a combined eight strikeouts for Greenville.
- The Cardinals finished with seven hits, and the Panthers tallied six, while Wesleyan left seven runners on base, and Greenville stranded five. The Cardinals also led the way with five extra-base hits, and the Panthers recorded a pair.
- The Cardinals will take on Salem State on Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz., as the game will start at 10 p.m. on the East Coast.