Down To Their Last Out, Cougars Knock Off No. 9 CU-Irvine 6-5 In 11 Innings
IRVINE, CA — A two-out single up the middle by Ryan Fobes in the top of the 11th inning scored Michael Downs to give Sioux Falls a 6-5 win over No. 9 (NAIA) Concordia University-Irvine at Eagles Field in Irvine, Calif. The Cougars evened their overall record at 6-6 while the Eagles fall to 22-9.
USF and Irvine exchanged leads throughout the contest. Noah Durkin, the Cougars’ top hitter, led off the game with a line drive single on a 1-1 count and was singled home by Gabe Kasak to give USF the 1-0 lead. Kasak’s base knock also put runners at first and second with one out, but CUI starting pitcher Dillon Moran squirmed out of the jam by getting Austin Richey to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Cougar starting pitcher Connor Gibson walked Eagles leadoff man Mitchell Esser to begin the game. Five pitches later, Spencer Nielsen’s double tied the game at 1-1. Gibson then walked senior backstop Nolan Clark and a wild pitch put runners on the corners for the Eagles with no outs, but Gibson picked the man off on first and followed with strikeout and a fly out to keep the game knotted at 1-1.
Senior Austin Goodenow singled to lead off the second inning and advanced to second on defensive indifference before crossing home plate when the Eagles’ third baseman muffed a ground ball off the bat of Cole Sweeney. Michael Vine followed with a single and Durkin plated Sweeney with an infield single to put USF ahead, 3-1.
The Eagles sandwiched outfield base hits around a sacrifice to scratch a run across in the bottom half of the second. After a 1-2-3 third for USF, the Eagles lead off the third with three straight hits to tie the game at 3-all.
USF bounced back to retake the lead in the fourth thanks to Goodenow, who delivered another lead-off single and scored on a fielder’s choice to make it 4-3 in favor of the Cougars.
Senior third baseman Jeremy Varner relieved Gibson in the bottom of the fourth and scattered one hit across the next two innings before the homestanding Eagles tacked on two runs in the sixth via a fielder’s choice and wild pitch to move in 5-4.
With one out in the seventh, Kasak stroked a single up the middle, stole second and scampered home on Richey’s game-tying triple to center.
The game went to extra innings and after Cougar ace Derek Fischer tossed 2.2 scoreless innings of relief, Michael Downs belted a one-out single in the eleventh and advanced to third on a ground out and wild pitch. With the Cougars down to their last out, Ryan Fobes cranked a base hit right down the middle to give USF the 6-5 edge.
Fischer then fanned the first two Eagles he faced before inducing a ground out to short to seal the victory.
Fischer (2-1) scattered five hits with no walks and three strikeouts in 3.2 innings to pick up his second win of 2014. Varner was effectively wild, allowing two runs on four hits, walked three, struck out two and was charged with a wild pitch in four innings of work.
Courtesy: University of Sioux Falls