ASHLAND, Va. – Senior Joseph Tuzzolo (Newport News, Va./Menchville) hit his league-leading seventh home run of the season in the eighth and knocked in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth as the sixth-ranked Randolph-Macon baseball team rallied to edge Virginia Wesleyan 6-5 in ODAC action Tuesday afternoon on Hugh Stephens Field at Estes Park.
The Yellow Jackets (21-3-1, 11-1 ODAC) extended their win streak to seven and moved into a first-place tie in the conference standings with the Marlins (19-8, 11-1 ODAC), who had their 11-game win streak snapped.
R-MC trailed 5-3 in the middle of the eighth. Tuzzolo lined a one-out homer to the Yellow Jacket bullpen in right to make it a one-run game. With two away, sophomore Shawn Nickles (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) singled to left. Sophomore Michael Nickles (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) hit a high fly ball to shallow left that was dropped for the seventh error of the game for VWU. Shawn Nickles scored from first to knot the score at 5-5.
After the Marlins failed to score in the top of the ninth, junior Jeff Butler (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) sent a single through the left side with one away in the bottom of the frame. Senior Cole Migliorini (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) sent Butler to third with a base hit to left and took second on the throw. Senior Rick Spiers (South Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) was intentionally walked to load the bases. Tuzzolo lined a single to right to drive in Butler with the winning run.
Tuzzolo went 3 for 5 with two runs and two RBI. Butler, Migliorini and Shawn Nickles all had two hits and a run for the Yellow Jackets.
Senior Cody Thompson (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee) earned the win, going 1.2 innings with two hits, no runs, no walks and three strikeouts. He evened his record at 1-1.
R-MC started the scoring in the second. Tuzzolo had a leadoff single, moved to second on a passed ball, went to third on an error and scored on a fielder's choice by Michael Nickles to give the home team an early 1-0 lead.
VWU evened the score at 1-1 in the fourth before the Yellow Jackets reclaimed the lead in the sixth. Migliorini had a leadoff single and moved up two bases on a pair of groundouts. Sophomore Reece Yeargain (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) singled to center to bring home Migliorini and moved to second when the ball was mishandled in center. Shawn Nickles drove in Yeargain with a base hit to give R-MC a 3-1 advantage.
The Marlins put up three in the seventh and added one in the eighth for a 5-3 edge, setting the stage for the R-MC comeback.
Randolph-Macon will travel to Virginia Beach to face Virginia Wesleyan on Thursday, April 12 at 3:30 p.m.