Santa Clara (25-25, 4-17) broke a 10-10 tie in the top of the ninth inning with four runs off relief pitcher Daniel Welch. The Cougars (21-25, 9-12) had to use seven pitchers in the game, including regular infielder Austin Hall who made his first collegiate pitching appearance, along with playing center field in the game, as well.
Hall has now played eight of nine positions throughout his career, with catcher being the only position he has yet to play. He surrendered three runs however, but delivered at the plate, going 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Shortstop Tanner Chauncey and outfielder Kelton Caldwell each went 3 for 4 and scored two runs apiece. Caldwell also had three RBIs.
Neither team had a hit through the first three innings, but both teams combined for 24 total hits and 24 runs in a game that lasted three hours and 21 minutes.
SUU BASEBALL: At Rochester, Mich., Southern Utah dropped a 6-5 decision to Oakland in its regular season finale. The Thunderbirds trailed through most of the game but battled back to force the game into extra innings where junior outfielder David Headley's solo home run gave the team a 5-4 edge in the top of the eleventh. SUU (18-34, 12-11 Summit League) was unable to hold on to the lead however as the Golden Grizzlies (23-29, 15-6) rallied with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning to escape with the 6-5 victory.
The two sides traded runs over the first few innings until the game came to a 2-2 tie in the middle of the third. Oakland got on the board first with an RBI sac fly hit by Aaron Cieslak in the opening frame, but the Thunderbirds leveled the score on an RBI single from DJ Andrade in the second. OU retook a one-run lead in the bottom half of the inning on a Kyle Bobolts single, but SUU came back again with an RBI single driven to left field by junior Chase Rezac.
Oakland then went on to put up a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to take a 4-2 lead. Nolan Jacoby brought in both scores with an RBI single through the left side to give the Grizzlies a two-run advantage.
The T-Birds trimmed the margin to one in the following frame as catcher Taggart Lunceford drove in Brad Royer with an infield single. Oakland then held SUU scoreless over the next two innings while clinging to a 4-3 lead.
Senior outfielder Marcus Romero drew a lead-off walk in the top of the seventh to give Southern Utah a man on first with nobody out. From there, Romero stole second and later reached third on a wild pitch. Rezac then put a fly ball in deep right center allowing him to tag and score for the tying run as SUU drew the count even at four runs apiece.
The score remained at a deadlock until the eleventh inning when Thunderbird outfielder David Headley blasted a solo shot over the left field wall to put his team out in front 5-4. Oakland came back to level the game again in its turn at the plate however as Spencer Marentette drove an RBI double down the left field line, and Bobolts then came through with a walk-off sac fly to give the Grizzlies a 6-5 win.
Headley's third home run of the season was part of 2-for-4 day at the plate for the outfielder while Rezac posted two RBIs to lead the Thunderbirds. Designated hitter Nolan Jacoby was 4-of-4 on the day and drove in a pair of runs for Oakland.
Kevin Kline (0-1) took the loss in his first decision of the year and OU reliever Russell Luxton picked up the win to move to 3-4 on the season.
The Thunderbirds will open the Summit League tournament with a matchup against top-seeded Oral Roberts Thursday at 2:30 p.m. (MT)
SLCC BASEBALL: At West Jordan, the No. 2 Bruins (45-9, 31-6 SWAC) saw their season end as No. 20 Western Arizona College (46-15) stole one in the bottom of the ninth inning in NJCAA District I Western playoff action. The win was Western Nevada's fourth straight over the Bruins, with WNC taking a 9-8 victory and advancing to the NJCAA Nationals. The Bruins rallied from a 6-1 deficit with a five-run seventh inning, and held an 8-6 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
With two outs in the bottom of frame nine, and runners on first and second, WNC sophomore outfielder Bobby Pappin smacked a grounder up the middle to score two runs and win the game for the Wildcats.
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