Schwartz's Walk Off Propels Baseball to Series Sweep
May 4, 2014
EASTON, Pa. - Two ninth-inning home runs, a solo job by Austen Maggin and Toby Schwartz's two-run walk off capped a wild game as Lafayette defeated North Carolina Central 7-6 on Sunday afternoon at Kamine Stadium. The win gave the Leopards a weekend sweep over the visiting Eagles.
Lafayette (15-26) trailed 6-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning when Maggin drilled a leadoff pinch-hit homer inside the right-field foul pole. The freshman's first-career blast made it a one-run contest before Andrew Santomauro followed with a single to center off Eagles' reliever Andrew Vernon. Jackson Kramer's bunt moved Santomauro into scoring position and brought Schwartz to the plate with one out for his first at-bat of the game. The Leopards' first baseman came in as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the eighth inning before crushing his first-career home run.
Vernon took the loss (2-2) and allowed three runs on three ninth-inning hits. He tossed a scoreless eighth inning, but was also charged with a blown save after NC Central took the lead with three runs in the top of the eighth inning to erase a 4-3 Lafayette edge.
The Eagles had runners on the corners to start the eighth inning against relief pitchers Trevor Houck and Ryan Callanan. Tyson Simpson was at second due to an error before Callanan entered the game to face Carter Williamson. The lefty-lefty matchup went in favor of NC Central as Williamson dropped a single into right field that fell in front of Brett Thompson's glove when his diving attempt came up short.
At that point, right-hander Connor McMahon came in to face Eric Kimber, who reached on a fielder's choice that scored Simpson and tied the game at 4. Christian Triplett then served a single to right field and Kimber took third to put runners on the corners with one away. Jared Kehagias dropped down a successful suicide squeeze as Kimber scored to put the Eagles in front 5-4. A single and an error gave NC Central an insurance run and it led 6-4 after the three-run eighth.
McMahon collected the win (2-0) by twirling two innings out of the bullpen. He was charged with a run on three hits and was the pitcher of record before Lafayette's offensive heroics.
The visitors put runners on base in each inning against Lafayette's starting pitcher Connor Ortolf, who lasted four frames but didn't surrender an earned run. Ortolf, a senior, made the final start of his career and earned a no-decision after yielding three runs on three hits. The lefty walked four and struck out two before exiting the tie game.
Facing a 3-0 hole after the first two innings, NC Central scored once in the third on an error and tied the game on Kory Wood's two-out double with a pair of runners in scoring position. Both Kimber and Cory Williamson, who scored on the play, were aboard after drawing free passes earlier in the frame.
The score remained tied through five complete as Houck pitched a 1-2-3 inning in relief of Ortolf and Kimber stranded two Leopards in the bottom half.
Following a scoreless inning for Houck that included a pair of strikeouts, Lawrence broke the deadlock with Matt Lawrence's solo shot to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Leopards' left fielder went the opposite way with a Kimber offering that bounced off the top of the fence in right field and over for his second dinger of the season.
Houck continued to frustrate the Eagle hitters in the top of the seventh by throwing his second perfect inning of the day.
Kimber's afternoon on the mound ended when Jacob Russell came into the game in relief in the bottom of the seventh inning. Russell allowed a two-out double to Alex Woinski, but kept the Leopards from scoring when Hudson grounded out to shortstop.
Kimber left the game after six innings in which he gave up four runs, two earned, on seven hits. He walked two and struck out two others in a no-decision.
Lafayette totaled 13 hits as 11 different players registered a base knock. Every Leopard batter had one hit, while Santomauro went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. His hitting streak improved to six games and Thompson increased his streak to seven games with a base hit.
Lafayette finishes its 2014 campaign with a 15-26 record.
Prior to the game, Lafayette's Class of 2014 was honored in a pregame ceremony. Eric Anderson, Connor Ortolf, Andrew Santomauro and Robert Tatum were recognized for their four-year careers on College Hill.
Matt Lawrence's home run was the third of his career.
Santomauro collected his third three-hit day of the season and finished the year with 13 multi-hit games, which led the Leopards.