Young’s walk-off lifts WSU over Valparaiso
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Josh DeBacker struck out while pinch hitting for Noah Croft, sending Travis Young to the plate with WSU down to their final out.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking when I was up there. I definitely wasn’t going to go down looking,” Young said.
The strikeout would be moot, however, as Young grounded a ball underneath the outstretched glove of Valparaiso shortstop Chad Jacob. Jackson safely slid home, and the comeback was complete.
“I thought Valparaiso did a great job in the eighth and ninth getting their three runs. They had tough at-bats,” Butler said. “It was good to see our offense respond and come from behind in the ninth inning.”
Senior Zach Lewis and Valparaiso’s starter, Mario Losi, traded zeroes for the first three and a half innings of the ballgame.
Lewis exited after the seventh inning, allowing no runs on two hits allowed and two walks.
“Zach Lewis pitched extremely well tonight. That’s three weekends in a row for him,” head coach Todd Butler said.
Lewis said that his mentality over the past three weekends has been to keep everything the same but work on the little things.
“I’m just trying to keep the same process and same routine every day and just work on the little things that need to be sharpened,” Lewis said. “We’re right where we need to be and I think this victory will catapult us moving forward.”
Sophomore Alec Bohm put the Shockers on the scoreboard first with a two-run home run in the fourth. The blast was Bohm’s third home run of the year, and WSU’s first since March 17.
Following Bohm’s blast, Losi settled down, allowing only two hits over his final four innings of work.
Senior Landon Hollifield came in for relief to begin the eighth inning. He gave up a single to Sam Shaikin and walked Scott Kapers before being taken out of the game for senior Reagan Biechler.
Biechler retired the only batter he faced before sophomore Clayton McGinness came in, who managed to escape the eighth inning only allowing one run on a single to Giovanni Garbella.
In the ninth, Valparaiso’s Nate Palace singled to begin the inning off of WSU junior Ben Hecht. A sacrifice bunt by Christian Barczi pushed the tying run to second.
Jake Hanson tied the game with a line drive double to right-center field, and Shaikin and Kapers followed with hits of their own to give Valparaiso a one-run lead over WSU heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Not to give up without a fight, the Shockers made things interesting in their last half-inning. Jenista began the rally by walking on four straight pitches from Valpo pitcher Jon Tieman.
Bohm nearly ended the game with a single swing of the bat when he launched what appeared to be another two-run home run, but the breeze blowing in from right field held the ball up just enough that Valparaiso left fielder Patrick Donohue was able to make the catch on the warning track.
Freshman Alex Jackson kept the line moving by singling through the left side, and junior Trey Vickers followed with a single up the middle to score Jenista and tie the game.
The Shockers return to action tomorrow afternoon at Eck Stadium, continuing the series with Valparaiso. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.