Final Inning Outburst Powers Bucs Baseball to Comeback WinMay 9, 2008
By CSU Sports Information
|Both junior Mark Perry (left) and freshman Tom Burkett (right) had a home run in the Bucs' ninth-inning rally.|
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Exploding for eight runs in the top of the ninth inning, the CSU baseball team turned the tables in a 10-6 win over UNC Asheville on Friday. Facing a four-run deficit in their last at-bats, the Buccaneers got home runs from junior Mark Perry and freshman Tom Burkett in the inning to fuel the come-from-behind victory.
Pitching two scoreless innings in relief, senior Cody Higgins earned the win for CSU (17-29, 5-11 Big South) to improve to 2-1 on the season. He allowed two hits and one walk with two strikeouts in his ninth appearance for the Bucs this year. Although UNC Asheville (21-29, 4-12) starter Alan DeRatt, senior, allowed only nine baserunners while striking out 10 over eight innings, he came away with a no decision. Sophomore Justin Schumer fell to 1-6 for the home team, giving up six runs in the Bucs’ ninth-inning rally.
The Bulldogs built an early lead, getting three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Senior Elliott Arrington led off with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. After freshman Danny Baatz drew a one-out walk, freshman Beau Zinmon put Asheville in front with a three-run home run to left center, his second of the season.
With another pair of runs in the bottom half of the third, the Bulldogs extended their lead to five. Junior Kevin Weidenbacher started the rally with a one-out single to center field and Schumer followed with a single of his own to give the home team runners on the corners. A wild pitch then moved Schumer into scoring position for Arrington, who delivered a single through the right side to bring both Weidenbacher and Schumer around to score, making it 5-0 in favor of the Bulldogs.
A pair of two-out hits in the top of the fifth inning helped the Bucs to get on the scoreboard and make it a four-run game. Burkett kept the inning alive by drawing a two-out walk and advanced to second on a single into right field by junior Jake Cox. Freshman Tyler Thornburg followed with another single, this one through the left side, giving Burkett time to come around for the run.
Loading the bases in the top of the seventh inning, CSU cut into the deficit further by putting another run on the board. Burkett drew another walk and, one out later, Thornburg picked up his second single to put two Buccaneers on the base paths. Perry then earned a free pass to first on a walk, loading the bases for junior Kory Morian. He recorded his 23 RBI of the season by drawing a walk to force Burkett home from third to make it 5-2.
A two-out single in the bottom half of the inning put Asheville back in front by four. Senior Kevin Mattison hit a double into left field to put himself in scoring position with one out. After a fly out, Schumer earned his 42nd RBI of the season with a single up the middle that brought Mattison in to score and made it 6-2 in favor of the Bulldogs.
Taking that lead into the top of the ninth inning, Schumer, who leads the team with seven saves, moved from third-base to the pitcher’s mound to close out the game for Asheville. He hit two consecutive batters, however, and Thornburg hit a single up the middle to load the bases full of Buccaneers. Perry then stepped in and hit just the second home run of his collegiate career, clearing the outfield wall for a grand slam that tied the game at 6-6.
After a fly out, junior Keith Hustedt and freshman Derek Smith drew back-to-back walks to reignite the CSU attack. Another fly out made it two outs, but redshirt-freshman Nick Chinners drove home the go-ahead run with a single to right field that brought Hustedt in from second. With a pair of runners on base, Burkett cleared the bases with his fourth homer of the season to put the Bucs in front 10-6.
Higgins allowed one hit in the bottom of the ninth, but recorded two straight swinging strikeouts to close out the victory for CSU in the series opener.
The teams will continue the league series with a 3 p.m. game on Saturday and it conclude on Sunday with a contest at 1 p.m.Related Item: Box Score