The battle for Volusia County went the way of the Wildcats as they walked off Stetson in the ninth, 7-6, Wednesday night at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
How It Happened
It looked like a less than idea start for the Wildcats (10-14, 5-1 SWAC) as Stetson (14-9, 2-4 ASUN) opened the evening with a leadoff triple. The Wildcats quickly rectified the situation as Brian Perez gunned down the runner attempting to score on a groundout.
The Wildcats scratched by the first run of the evening in the bottom of the first when Christopher Patterson reached on a throwing error and scored on a double to right field by Boris Peña.
The Hatters threatened again in the second with a one-out double, but were again foiled on the base paths.
Stetson took a 4-1 lead in the second inning on three hits and a hit by pitch. The Hatters looked primed to do more damage with the bases loaded, but the Wildcats limited the damage, stranding three.
It did not take long for the Wildcats to respond as they tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Malik Stephens swiped third and came around to score on a throwing error, and a Lake Fisher double scored Jeremy Garcia to make it 4-3.
The Hatters added two more in the seventh on four hits and an error to make it 6-3.
The Wildcats put three on the board in the eighth to tie things up at 6-6. Lake Fisher walked to open the inning, and he advanced to third on a double from Brian Perez. A groundout from Franki Febles scored Fisher, and Kyle Wilkinson came through with a pinch hit single to score Perez and lock things at 6-6.
The Wildcats loaded the bases on a single, walk, and hit-by-pitch, but they could not take the lead.
Fisher opened the bottom of the ninth with a walk. The next two Wildcats struck out. Manny Souffrain extended the inning with another walk on a full count, bringing Wilkinson to the plate. On a 2-1 count, Wilkinson sent a looping ball down into right field, scoring Fisher and ending things at 7-6.
“The game knows,” Wildcats head coach Jonathan Hernandez said after the game. “Kyle works hard and he hasn’t seen that success in these types of situations for us – but a guy like that who has competed all year and hasn’t wavered – he got rewarded tonight.”
Marcos Gamboa made the start. He tossed 2.2 innings, allowing five hits and four runs, all earned with two walks and two strikeouts.
Joan Gonzalez provided 4.1 innings in relief, allowing two runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. He struck out the side in the fifth and made an incredible snag of a liner to the mound to turn a double play in the sixth.
Dale Michaud got the win. He threw two innings, allowing no hits, no runs, and two walks with a pair of strikeouts. He stranded a runner at third in the top of the ninth, setting the Wildcats up for the win.
“There’s just no quit in this team,” Hernandez said. “We get down early and we just start chipping away. These are tough dudes that love playing the game and we’re excited. We’ll turn our attention back to SWAC play and get to work this weekend.”
- The hero of the night, Kyle Wilkinson, went 2-2 with a double and two RBI.
- Six of the ten B-CU hits went for extra bases – the most by the team in a game this season.
- Malik Stephens and Franki Febles also had multi-hit games for the Wildcats.
- Wednesday’s win improves the Wildcats to 7-4 in 11 one-run games.
- Brian Perez extended his on-base streak to ten games with a double
- Stetson left 13 men on base in the game
- Each team left at least one runner on in every half-inning.