Clutch Hitting Powers ULM to Extra Innings Win at Tennessee
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - An RBI single from Joey Rapp in the top of the 10th inning broke a 6-6 tie, vaulting the ULM baseball team to an 8-6 victory over Tennessee in game two Saturday evening at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Rapp turned on a 0-2 pitch from Nick Williams (1-2) for a base hit up the middle, scoring Jeremy Sy from second base to give the Warhawks a 7-6 lead. A Caleb Clowers groundout moved Rapp to third base, but accounted for the inning's second out. Tennessee (10-4) second baseman Will Maddox then mishandled a slow grounder off the bat of Judd Edwards, scoring Rapp to push the ULM cushion to 8-6.
Wil Browning (3-0) retired the final three Tennessee batters in the bottom of the 10th inning to pick up the victory.
Rapp enjoyed a tremendous day at the plate, finishing 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored. Jeremy Sy and Corben Green each added a pair of hits and two runs scored for ULM (10-6).
Sy rapped a 1-2 triple down the left field line off Blount to open the top of the sixth inning. Green ripped a 1-2 pitch through the right side to plate Sy and tie the ballgame at 3-3. Rapp followed with the second consecutive two-strike base knock to increase the ULM pressure. Steckenrider came on in relief and struck out Edwards and Alexander in succession to bring Logan Fiasco to the plate with the bases still loaded and two outs. The junior catcher delivered, shooting a bags-clearing double to the gap in right center to rocket the Warhawks in front 6-3.
Drew Steckenrider doubled down the left field line with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, moving Zach Osborne over to third base and chasing Kendall Thamm from the game. In his first batter faced, Browning looked to force Chris Fritts into a ground out to shortstop, but Sy's throw was dropped by Rapp at first base, allowing both runners to score and close the gap to 6-5. A sacrifice fly from Jared Allen tied the game at 6-all.
Maddox and Osborne led Tennessee with two hits apiece, while Fritts added a base knock and two RBIs.
Tennessee struck early against Warhawk starter Andrew Richardson. Maddox reached first on a five-pitch walk and then moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Osborne. A wild pitch from Richardson moved Maddox to third. Chris Pierce drove a ball deep to Taylor Abdalla in right field, allowing Maddox to tag up and give the Volunteers a 1-0 lead. Richardson forced Fritts to ground out to Sy at shortstop for the final out of the inning.
Abdalla broke through with the first ULM hit of the afternoon, driving a double off Volunteer starter Nick Blount over the head of Allen in right field with two outs in the top of the third. Les Aulds drew a walk on five pitches to give the Warhawks two base runners with two men away. Sy rapped a ball hard out to center fielder Fritts to end the ULM threat.
Richardson struggled to open the bottom half of the inning, hitting Pierce to load the bases with nobody out. An RBI double play groundout from Steckenrider pushed the Tennessee advantage to 2-0. Fritts then singled up the middle to score Osborne and extend the lead to 3-0.
ULM got on the board in the top of the fourth inning after Green sent the first pitch he saw from Blount screaming up the middle for a single. Rapp took the next Blount offering deep and out to right field, bringing the Warhawks within one run at 3-2. Blount managed to retire the next three batters in succession to stall the ULM surge.
Kendall Thamm came on in relief of Richardson in the bottom of the fourth inning and sat the Volunteers down in order, ending the frame by striking out Ethan Bennett swinging.
The teams meet for the final game of the three-game set Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.