FOND DU LAC, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – An eighth-inning comeback in game two helped the Marian University baseball team salvage a doubleheader split with a 6-4 win over visiting Benedictine, following a 5-3 loss in Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference play, this afternoon, April 26.
Trailing 4-3 going into the bottom of the eighth, the Sabres (15-12, 7-7 NACC) were able to put together a three-run rally to regain the lead and, behind the left arm of Brandon Winfield, finished off the Eagles (18-14, 12-4 NACC) to earn the split.
In game one, Marian scored a run in each of the first three innings, but found itself tied with Benedictine after allowing three runs in the top of the third. Marian starter Sam Forkert looked very effective in the early going, facing the minimum through seven batters into the third inning.
However, the Eagles were able to string together three hits, while coaxing a pair of walks and hit-by-pitch with most of the damage being done with two outs in the third inning.
With the score still tied going into the fifth, the Eagles benefitted from a pair of Marian errors for two runs to gain a lead they would not relinquish.
While Forkert ran into a bit a bad luck, he did manage to go seven strong innings and strikeout eight batters, while walking six. His counterpart, reigning NACC Pitcher of the Year Chris Jordan, won the pitcher's duel with a complete-game with seven punchouts and no walks. He did scatter 13 hits, but his defense was able to turn a pair of double plays.
Senior Matt Bromley continued on his tear of late, recording four hits on the day, including a 3-for-4 effort to lead the Sabres in game one.
In game two, it was Benedictine to take an early 2-0 advantage in the second inning. Marian wouldn't record its first hit until the third and finally put together a rally in the fourth.
T.J. McCoy started the rally by reaching base via a hit-by-pitch, his second of the game. Two straight hits by Bromley and Adam Ryan would follow. With the bases loaded, Cole Miklavcic recorded one of his four hits on the day with a run-scoring single deep in the hole at shortstop.
Ty Gellinger then gave the Sabres their first lead of the game with a two-run single to right field.
Neither team would score again until the seventh when Benedictine put up a two-spot with the benefit of another Marian error. Mike Luschen reached with a one-out single, one of his three hits in the game to lead the Eagles. He would eventually score on a single two batters later.
It was a rough eighth inning for the Benedictine pitching staff as three pitchers combined for four freebies, including two walks to lead off the inning.
Both runners would eventually score, as would Ryan Blise, who reached on a hit-by-pitch two batters later. Chad Langley would be the first to drive in a run with a single to right, followed by Tony Grannis with another single and then McCoy with a bases-loaded walk.
The three runs made it 6-4 and that was all Winfield needed to finish the job.
The Ripon native was in control for the majority of the game, striking out seven batters, while walking none and scattering nine hits that led to four runs (2 earned). He improved his record to 5-1 on the season, including 4-0 in conference play with three complete games.
Marian, which is currently tied with Rockford, Edgewood and Concordia Wisconsin for third place in the standings, will head to eight-place Dominican (18-15, 7-9 NACC) for a 1 p.m. start tomorrow, April 27.