Passed Ball in Extra Innings Sends Maroon to 2-0 ULM Blood Series Lead
MONROE, La. - Les Aulds scored from third base on a passed ball by catcher Joey Cesario in the bottom of the 10th inning, earning a 4-3 come from behind victory for Maroon in game 2 of the ULM Maroon & Gold Blood Series Sunday afternoon at Warhawk Field.
Aulds reached base with one out in the inning after being hit by a pitch from Gold reliever Brent Gay (0-1). Caleb Clowers then doubled down the right field line, advancing Aulds to third. After intentionally walking Corben Green to load the bases, Gay's next pitch to Taylor Abdalla got away from Cesario, bringing in the game-winning run.
Maroon leads the five-game series 2-0 after emerging victorious in game one 7-6 in 11 innings on Friday night.
Gold opened the scoring in the top of the third inning. Josh Faciane doubled off Maroon starter Alex Hermeling, and then advanced to third on a groundout by Cody Stone. Faciane scored on a Dan Street ground ball to second base to give Gold a 1-0 lead.
Maroon finally struck in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Green plated Jason Johnson with a sacrifice fly to center field off Gold starter Shelby Aulds to narrow the gap to 2-1.
Aulds was impressive in his first start of the series despite the run allowed, scattering three hits over six innings and striking out five in a no-decision.
Judd Edwards put Gold back up by two in the top of the seventh, smashing a 1-1 pitch from reliever Kendall Thamm over the wall down the left field line to give his team a 3-1 lead.
Then Gold's Chris Dudley drove a triple to the gap in left center to put a runner right back into scoring position. Thamm battled out of the inning, however, as Dudley was thrown out at home plate by Maroon third baseman Trent Lucas while trying to score, and Street lined out with Faciane stranded at third to end the threat.
Maroon cut the lead to one run in the bottom of the eighth. Jeff Fuller singled to open the frame, and then advanced on a groundout by Logan Fiasco. An errant throw by Gold shortstop Jeremy Sy following a single by Johnson allowed Fuller to score all the way from second to make the score 3-2.
The home squad earned its first tie of the ballgame in the last of the ninth, on the strength of inning-opening base hits by Green and Justin Stawychny. A Fuller single to left field loaded the bases for Maroon with only one out.
Following a Fiasco strikeout, Lucas connected on a base knock through the right side, scoring Stawychny to tie the game at 3-all. Gay battled out of the inning two pitches later, forcing Blake Wolfe to ground out to third base to send the game to extra innings.
Maroon reliever Andrew Richardson hit Street and walked Sy to open the top of the 10th. Brandon Alexander moved both runners into scoring position for Gold with a sacrifice bunt back to the mound to record the first out of the inning.
Richardson intentionally walked Joey Rapp to set up the double play, and the strategy paid off. With the force on at any base, Johnson fielded a hard grounder to first by Cesario and threw out Street at home. Sy inexplicably overran the bag at third on the play, and was gunned down by the catcher Fiasco 2-to-5 to escape the jam.
Lucas powered the Maroon offense with a 3-for-4 afternoon and one RBI. Fuller, Johnson and Green each added two base hits apiece.
Richardson (1-0) earned the win, allowing no runs on one hit in his two innings of work. Hermeling threw six innings of two-run ball, allowing three hits and one walk in his first outing of the series.
Game three of the Blood Series is scheduled for a 2 p.m. first pitch on Friday, with games four (Saturday at 10:30 a.m.) and five (Sunday at 2 p.m.) to follow as part of the weekend Homecoming events. All remaining games will be played under a seven-inning format as opposed to the traditional nine.