Baseball Claims Walk-off Win in Extra Innings
EASTON, Pa. – Behind a walk-off two-out solo home run by Steven Cohen, the Lafayette baseball team was able to claim its fourth straight victory with an 8-7 win in a 12-inning affair with Niagara on Saturday afternoon at Kamine Stadium.
It was the first time this season that the Leopards (8-43) found themselves in a 12-inning game, but for the third time in a seven-day span, Lafayette pulled out some late-game heroics to grab a win.
For the second straight game, eight of the nine Lafayette starters recorded a hit. Five different Leopards had a multi-hit game in the win over the Purple Eagles (20-19), including Cohen, who batted 3-for-7 in the leadoff spot with two runs scored and the game-winning homer.
Quentin Bubb and John Selsor, who hit behind Cohen in the order, each picked up a pair of base knocks, while Pat Nelson went 3-for-6. Spencer Rouse was the final Leopard batter to have a multi-hit game as the sophomore shortstop went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs to go along with his game-tying home run late in the contest.
The Leopards’ bats were challenged by the Purple Eagles, who sent their top two starters to the mound in the first game of the series. Matthew Brash received the starting nod with a 5-0 record, before Cody Eckerson, who carried a low ERA coming into the game, was welcomed on the mound in the fifth.
Despite their impressive numbers though, Lafayette plated five runs on the two pitchers combined and went to work right away, jumping ahead with a score in the first.
It started with back-to-back singles by Cohen and Bubb and after Cohen advanced to third on a passed ball, he came in to score on a Selsor RBI single to left center. Lafayette held its lead until the third, when Niagara put up two runs to move ahead 2-1.
Over the next several innings, it turned into a pitching duel as Brendan Ball, who got the start for the Leopards, did not allow a run for the following three frames and Coleman Strohm kept it a one-run game as he came on in relief in the sixth and did not allow a run to score.
In the seventh, the Purple Eagles plated a pair of runs and went ahead a 4-1 over the Leopards, but an RBI triple by Luke Robinson in the bottom half of the inning cut the Niagara lead in half.
The Purple Eagles continued to showcase their ability to score runs as they put up two more in the eighth to take a 6-2 lead. However, the Leopards once again had an answer and following a Nelson leadoff single, he later came in to score on a Rouse base hit to left.
After Rich Villa drew a base on balls, both him and Rouse advanced on a balk, setting up John Marti for the sacrifice fly to center. Lafayette scored one additional run in the inning to make it a one-run game.
Despite the Purple Eagles bringing their lead back to two with a run in the ninth, the Leopards remained resilient. Alex Woinski hit a one-out infield single and after the second out of the inning was recorded, Rouse stepped into the batter’s box and belted the first pitch he saw over the fence in left to even the score up at seven and eventually send the game into extra innings. It was the second time this week that Rouse came through with a timely home run in a big spot for the Leopards.
As the game went into extra innings, both sides failed to plate a run in the 10th and 11th inning, setting up a dramatic ending. The Leopards came up to bat in the bottom of the 12th and after the two leadoff batters were retired, the lineup turned over and Cohen came up to bat. The junior got a pitch he could hit and sent it into the air to deep right over the fence for a walk-off home run to seal the victory for the Maroon and White.
The Leopards will close out their 2017 campaign tomorrow afternoon with a 1 p.m. game against Niagara at Kamine Stadium on Senior Day.