Seniors Shine in Last Home Saturday Games of the Season
DEFIANCE, Ohio – Senior pitchers Aaron Patterson and Jake Taylor each notched wins against the Earlham Quakers in the first two games in a pivotal Hearltand Collegiate Athletic Conference series. The Jackets rallied to win game one 8-7 in extra innings and then used a 9-5 victory to move into fourth place in the conference standings.The Yellow Jackets dug themselves into a whole early in game one of the day, as a trio of errors in the third inning led to six runs for the visitors from Richmond, Ind.After the top of the fifth inning, Defiance was down 7-2 and struggling to get anything going. The Purple and Gold bats came to life in the bottom of the frame, as Joel Musser and Jonathan Murphy each produced two-out RBI hits to draw DC within three at 7-4.The hosts wasted little time in completing the comeback, as the Jackets tied the game in the next inning at 7-7. A leadoff walk and stolen base by Aaron Helland set the table for DC's rally and was followed by a single up the middle from Chris Donese to score Helland. After two strikeouts, Andy Habecker singled down the left field line to bring the score to 7-6. Habecker later scored the tying run in the sixth off an Earlham wild pitch.The Quakers Zach Lee and DC's Patterson matched each other pitch for pitch out of the bullpen in the seventh, eighth and ninth frames, as the two pitchers combined to allow just one hit in the three-inning stretch to send the game to extras.After Patterson tossed his fifth-straight scoreless inning in the top of the tenth, the Jackets nearly won in the bottom half but Lee and the Earlham defense managed to get out of the jam.The Purple and Gold had the bases loaded with no outs due to a walk, an error and an infield bunt single. Defiance then hit a comebacker to the pitcher, who threw home and then to first to record the first two outs of the inning and keep the winning run off the board. DC's next batter grounded out to third to end the threat.After another one, two, three inning for Patterson in the top of the 11th, the visitors once again got into a jam, but this time would not escape.The Yellow Jackets loaded the bases with two outs and had their three-hitter in Darin Waterman stepping up to the plate. The junior showed his composure and patience in the box and was able to draw a walk-off walk to plate the game-winning run in pinch runner Matt Staels.Defiance received an unbelievable performance out of the bullpen from Patterson. The reliever tossed seven innings with four strikeouts, while only allowing one run on three hits and a walk on his way to his fourth win of the season.Game two was highlighted by another DC senior pitcher in Jake Taylor, who tossed his second-career complete game on senior day and recorded his fourth win of the season.The Purple and Gold jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead through the first two innings. Base knocks from Pat Masopust and Habecker led to two runs in the first and freshman Ryan Kohlhofer scored on a wild pitch in the second to push the lead to 3-1.The Quakers managed to scrape across a run in the fifth and sixth innings to tie the game at 3-3.Defiance then broke the game open in the bottom of the frame, as the home team crossed the plate four times to go up 7-3. The big hit in the inning was delivered by Waterman, who laced a single through a drawn-in infield to score Chris Donese and Helland.Both sides were able to add two runs apiece in the remaining three innings to finish the game with a score of 9-5.At the plate the Jackets were also led by seniors, as Jonathan Murphy and Habecker each produced four hits and combined for four RBIs.With the two victories Defiance surpasses its win total of 15 from a year ago and matches its best win output since the spring of 2010 of 16 victories. The squad's season record now stands at 16-10 and its record in the Heartland is 9-7, good enough for the fourth and final spot in the postseason tournament if the season ended today.The Yellow Jackets look to complete the series sweep on Sunday, as the two teams meet for the final time this season. The first pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.