It takes 21 innings, but Rhodes advances

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Hunter Chandler threw 153 pitches in relief, going 10-2/3 innings and allowing one run in Rhodes' 8-7 win.
Rhodes athletics file photo 

It took 6 hours, 50 minutes, and 21 innings, but Oglethorpe finally defeated Rhodes 8-7 in the SCAC tournament. 

Rhodes advances to play the winner of DePauw and Trinity, scheduled to start immediately following the marathon. It's believed to be the longest game in Division III baseball history. Oglethorpe was eliminated.

The game featured 34 hits, 31 of them singles and the rest doubles. The teams combined to leave 48 runners on base (28 Oglethorpe; 20 Rhodes). Two relievers pitched the equivalent of complete games, one going nine innings and the other, Rhodes' Hunter Chandler, going 10 2/3 innings.

Postgame interviews (SCAC audio)

The Rhodes bullpen had been spared in a first-round win against Hendrix, as Austin Carden picked up the complete-game win. The bullpens combined to throw 37-2/3 innings, allowing just three earned runs. Following Chandler's effort, Taylor Babich came on to throw five scoreless innings for Rhodes to pick up the win, improving to 3-3.

"I kind of honestly went numb," Chandler said after the game, "didn't really feel anything after a while and just kept rolling out there. I just told coach 'throw me till my arm falls off.' "

"Our pitching was outstanding," said Rhodes coach Jeff Cleanthes. "In terms of the rest of the game and how we played, not very good. ... Our team fought, and I appreciate that." 

Oglethorpe pitchers combined to strike out 27 Rhodes batters, and lost. Matt Cornwell pitched six innings of hitless relief, striking out 10, while Cory Leff followed and struck out 15 in nine innings.

"Matt and Cory have been two of our better guys all year honestly, and both position guys who play every day for us," Oglethorpe coach Dan Giordano said following the game. 
"We knew coming into this game it was do or die ... so we said if we got in trouble early we're going straight to those guys."

The score was 6-5 through three innings, but the teams combined for just four runs over the next 18. 

Trailing 7-6 in the top of the ninth, Rhodes' Travis Perkins struck out but reached first base on a wild pitch. He advanced to second on a Matt Cornwell balk before stealing third. With the Lynx down to their final out, Perkins took a gamble and caught Cornwell by surprise as he stole home with the tying run.

"That was a really good play, something I was proud of," Cleanthes said. "He's a hard worker, he's had a rough year but he battles every time. That was just an outstanding play. He saw a chance and took it."

In the top of the 21st, Rhodes catcher Chris Conkell drew a walk and then was sacrificed to second. He then advanced to third on a ground out. Conkell scored the game-winning run on an error by Oglethorpe pitcher Emmett Goodman.

Conkell finished the game 2-for-8 with two RBI and the winning run. Teammate Lynden Pindling was 4-for-8 with two runs scored and an RBI.

"I would say, honestly, it was such a long game I forgot half the game," Giordano said. "To tell you the truth, I can't remember who started the game for us.

"We challenged the guys to come out here and play hard and play with energy and passion and I think we did that tonight. So I'm proud of the guys."