RICHMOND, Indiana – The Earlham College baseball team scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Wittenberg University 10-9 in walk-off fashion at Randal R. Sadler Stadium on Wednesday.
Wittenberg answered in the top of the second using two hits and two walks to score two runs. After a scoreless third inning from both teams, the Tigers took their first lead of the contest as Matt Baker singled home Ryan Probst.
Trailing 3-2 and having relied on double plays to end the first and fourth innings, the Quakers' offense came alive in the bottom of the fifth. Senior Nate Lynch led off the inning with a single, and after a stolen base, fellow senior Brennan Laird doubled home Lynch. After a groundout, Dopp delivered another RBI-single to score Laird. Leading 4-3, the Quakers continued the pressure as freshman Isaiah Shake grounded out scoring a run and sophomore Addison Robertson hit an RBI-single. In total, Earlham scored five runs on four hits and one Wittenberg error in the inning.
Wittenberg answered right back, however, as the Tigers scored four runs on two hits and two Quaker errors to tie the game 7-7 in the top of the sixth. Wittenberg was threatening to score more runs, but Earlham turned its third double play of the game to end the threat. An inning later, the Tigers a two-run lead with RBI-singles from Aaron Fasano and Jace Barga.
Earlham got a run back in the seventh as Lynch reached base via a fielder's choice and appeared to tie the game on a double from Shake in the bottom of the eighth, but the home plate umpire ruled the ball landed in foul territory down the right field line.
Trailing 9-8, junior Matt Mathies came in to pitch in the ninth inning, and stranded a Tiger runner at third base. In the bottom half of the frame, Robertson led off with a single, and was bunted over to second by junior Kendal Baker. Junior Ian Bach then singled, advancing Robertson to third. With the tying run 90 feet away from home plate, Lynch delivered an RBI-single off of the pitcher's glove, scoring Robertson to tie the game 9-9.
Wittenberg then elected to intentionally walk Laird, and senior Eric Elkus, the two-time Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Hitter of the Week, stepped into the batter's box with the bases loaded and one out.
Elkus, also a D3Baseball.com Team of the Week honoree, hit a slow roller to shortstop. Probst got the force out at second base, but Elkus beat the throw to the bag, turning a potential inning-ending double play into a walk-off win.
Mathies picked up his second win of the season after not allowing a base runner in two-thirds of an inning pitched. Freshman Austin Green also pitched well in relief of starter, freshman Kyle Gorman, going 1.1 innings with one strikeout.
Joshua Darang, who was in line a save for Wittenberg, took the loss allowing two earned runs in one inning pitched.
Earlham improves to 5-4 on the season and opens HCAC play at defending champion Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology this weekend.