April 17, 2012

No. 19 Shenandoah Outlasts Messiah

More news about: Shenandoah

WINCHESTER, Va. - Yogi Berra would have loved this game, 'cause it wasn't over until it was over.

No. 16/19 Shenandoah University began its final push for a Pool C NCAA Tournament berth Tuesday afternoon with a 9-8, 11-inning baseball victory over Messiah College.

Junior Nick Beall, on to pinch hit for Christian Frey, won it for the Hornets (27-10) in the 11th with a one-out single back up the middle to score Mike Minch from third.

Minch, attempting to sacrifice, had reached on a fielder's choice and went all the way to third as losing pitcher Davin Okerblom (1-3) uncorked a wild pitch on a Minch steal attempt.

Following an intentional walk to Joey Donofrio, Beall, normally the team's designated hitter, pinch hit and took Okerblom over second base for the game-winning RBI.

But that doesn't even come close to telling the story of the contest.

SU found itself down 5-0 after Messiah (11-20) scored four times in the first and once in the second, and then took until the bottom of the eighth to bring the game back to level when Jake Pendergraft scored an unearned run on a Greg Beran single to center.

In the 10th, the Hornets appeared to win it as Cory Nelson drilled his third double of the game down the leftfield line to bring Frey home with the host's ninth run of the contest.

Only it wasn't.

With the 45+ players in uniform on the field celebrating the apparent victory, Falcons catcher David Sletta tagged Frey out in between home and first base after noticing that Frey had not touched home plate.

The call was made immediately and after a short conference to explain the situation, Pendergraft was returned to third and Nelson to second with two outs.

Joe Bittner then walked to load the bases before Michael Paul grounded to first to end the threat.

Senior Kyle Scallion (1-2), the fourth Hornets pitcher, earned the win with four strikeouts and four groundouts in eight batters faced.

Tucker Brown and Nelson led a 14-hit attack with three hits each.

Corbin Lucas added two hits and two RBI.

Shenandoah is back in action on Sunday at future ODAC rival Virginia Wesleyan.

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