CINCINNATI – Down to its last strike, Mount St. Joseph rallied for two two-out runs to escape with the 9-8 win in non-conference action at Marge Schott Stadium on the campus of the University of Cincinnati.
After starter Hunter Justus (Circleville, OH/Logan Elm) struck out the first two batters in the ninth, and thought he had a third sent away on strikes, the Lions mounted a comeback. It started with back-to-back singles, the latter an infield hit, and then the bases were loaded on a walk. That prompted a pitching change, but unfortunately, it didn't stem the momentum mounted by the Mount.
A two-strike double down the right field line was nearly ran down by freshman Corey Walker (Hillsboro, OH/Hillsboro), but the ball fell out of his glove as he hit the ground on his diving attempt.
"If we made plays earlier in the game, we are up four or five, and it doesn't get to that point," said head coach Tony Haley. "Our kids kept fighting, came back and took the lead. I think tonight we grew up a little bit. They know now what it takes to win a game. It's not over until the last out."
Justus (1-3) took the hard luck loss thanks mostly to the Quakers' inability to field early in the game. Wilmington committed six errors, leading to five MSJ runs through the middle innings. He went 8 2/3 innings, allowing nine runs (four earned) on 11 hits with nine strikeouts. Justus was also 3-for-4 with one run scored at the plate.
"He pitched well enough to win the game, we didn't play defense behind him," said Haley.
Wilmington fought back from the 6-1 deficit as junior Brandon Arehart (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington) smacked a two-out, bases loaded double pulling the Fightin' Quakers to within 6-4 in the top of the fifth inning. The momentum kept rolling in the sixth inning as freshman Clay Cleaver (Pleasant Plain, OH/Little Miami) gave WC the lead with a two-out double. They added an insurance run on a fielding error.
However, they couldn't hold the lead as the Mount recorded the walk-off victory.
Arehart finished the game 2-for-5 with three RBI, while freshman Bryce Bean (Lees Creek, OH/East Clinton) recorded his first multi-hit game of his career with a 3-for-5 performance.
Wilmington (3-10), on a nine-game losing streak, travels to Crawfordsville, IN for a four-game series with Wabash starting Saturday.