Late Heroics Lift Baseball Over Emory, UMHB

Late Heroics Lift Baseball Over Emory, UMHB

BELTON, Texas - The Whitworth baseball team rallied from behind in both games at the Central Texas Tournament on Saturday to remain unbeaten by earning wins over Emory University and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor on Red Murff Field. The Pirates topped Emory in extra innings, 8-7, before claiming an 8-6 win from Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Whitworth (7-0) won in walk-off fashion over Emory (2-1), ranked No. 3 nationally in the preseason poll. The Pirates broke a late tie by scoring twice in the top of the ninth inning to top host UMHB (0-3).

The Pirates face Concordia (Tex.) University on Sunday at 9 a.m. (PST) to conclude the weekend.

Whitworth 8, Emory 7 (10 Innings)

Pinch-hitter Ryan Bird delivered a walk-off double in the 10th inning to score Anthony Bonilla as Whitworth completed a late comeback for an 8-7 win over No. 3 Emory during Saturday's first game at the Central Texas Tournament.

The Pirates needed only two batters to produce the walk-off win in the 10th inning. Bonilla led off and belted a double to the gap in right-center field before Bird followed with a double just over the left fielder's head. Bonilla initially retreated to tag up at second base but was still able to score with ease, sparking an on-field celebration from the Pirates.

Whitworth forced extra innings by scoring a run in the ninth inning. Jeremy Druffel singled to begin the inning and Matthew Nelson followed with a walk. JT Phelan advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt before Jacob Yamane brought home Druffel with a RBI groundout. But Emory reliever Kyle Monk got Jacob Silva to ground out with the winning run stranded at third base.

Nelson and Phelan sparked early offense for the Pirates that helped Whitworth grab a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Nelson tripled to begin the inning and Phelan followed with a RBI double down the left-field line. Yamane then singled to put runners on the corners and Jordan McGowan reached on a fielder's choice to plate Phelan.

The Eagles answered quickly with two runs in the top of the fifth after loading the bases with no outs. Whitworth starter Kelly Fitzpatrick recorded two outs via a strikeout and a pop up with the bases loaded but Dylan Eiser delivered a two-out single to tie the game.

The Emory offense continued to produce the following inning with three consecutive hits to begin the sixth inning -- the third of which was a three-run home run by Chris Young for a 5-2 lead. Consecutive doubles with one out for the Eagles extended the lead to 6-2 before Whitworth could end the inning. Brian Hernandez added a solo home run in the seventh inning for a 7-2 advantage.

Whitworth had put four runs on the scoreboard during the bottom of the seventh inning to come within 7-6. A leadoff single from Zach Thibault was followed with Dalton Carter reaching via a hit by pitch. Garrett Hughes then reached on a throwing error to by the Emory third baseman, allowing Thibault to score. Daniel Casanova followed with a sacrifice fly before Druffel and Phelan added RBI singles as Whitworth sent nine men to the plate during the frame.

Arory Milyard (1-0) pitched 4 ⅔ innings of relief to earn the win, allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Fitzpatrick went 5 ⅓ innings for Whitworth, allowing six runs with five strikeouts against one walk.

Phelan finished 3 for 4 with two RBIs and one run scored. Bonilla (2-2, run) and Druffel (2-5, 2 runs, RBI) also had multi-hit games.

Whitworth 8, Mary Hardin-Baylor 6

Whitworth overcame an early four-run deficit and scored twice in the ninth inning to remain undefeated with its fourth consecutive come-from-behind win, an 8-6 victory over Mary-Hardin Baylor.

Tied at 6-6 entering the ninth inning, Druffel led off with a single and advanced all the way to third base when a failed pickoff attempt went by the first baseman and well into foul territory. Nelson followed with an infield single, but Druffel stayed at third.

A wild pitch brought home Druffel and advanced Nelson, putting the Pirates up 7-6. After loading the bases later in the inning, Bird grounded out to second and scored Nelson.

Nelson, who began the game as the first baseman, took to the mound in the bottom of ninth and allowed a leadoff single before recording three consecutive strikeouts to earn the save.

The Crusaders struck first in the game, quickly building 4-0 lead in the first inning. Dakota Parsons belted a two-run home run and a pair of two-out RBI hits highlighted a first inning featuring five hits by Mary Hardin-Baylor.

The Pirates put a run on the scoreboard in the top of the third to come within 4-1. Hughes and Casey Isa each singled to begin the inning and Hughes scored when Skyler Lookabill reached on a fielder's choice.

Whitworth eliminated the lead during the fourth inning, coming within 4-3 when Thibault smacked a two-run home run to left field. Hughes was then hit by a pitch, stole second and scored with a RBI single from Isa.

Mary Hardin-Baylor added a run in the fourth inning to take a 5-4 lead and held the advnatage until theseventh inning.

In the seventh, a walk to Casanova and double from Druffel put two runners in scoring position for Nelson, who delivered a two-RBI single through the right side for a 6-5 Whitworth lead. But a two-out single by Riley Davis in the bottom of the eighth inning brought the score even at 6-6.

Tim Bever relieved starter Phelan, who left the game after the first inning, and threw 6 ⅔ innings He allowing two runs and struck out five batters.

Mathew Pulliam (1-0) relieved Bever, throwing ⅓ of an inning for the win before Nelson entered for the ninth inning.

Druffel was 3 for 5 with two runs scored and Nelson went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBIs.