Late Heroics Lift Trojans Past Huntington in Extra-Innings
UPLAND, Ind. – It took 12 innings but Taylor remained unbeaten in the 2018 Crossroads League Tournament by earning a 4-2 victory over Huntington on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Winterholter Field.
Tanner Watson provided the game-winner in the top of the 12th, turning on an 0-2 offering and lacing a single through the left side to bring in Wyatt Whitman and Josh Lane for the 4-2 lead.
The 12th-inning rally was made possible due to the work of Rob Fox out of the bullpen for the Trojans, as the senior relief ace held the Huntington sticks scoreless over the final four innings of the contest in his first career outing of more than 2.2 innings.
Fox entered in the ninth, after Huntington had clawed back even with single runs in the sixth and eighth to knot the score at 2-2. Fox allowed only one hit in the four frames, fanning five and pitching out of trouble in the bottom of the 10th, after a fielding error put the game in jeopardy.
The error opened the inning and was followed by a sac bunt, an intentional walk and a steal of third to put runners on the corners with only one out. Fox struck out the HU cleanup hitter for the second out and then followed another intentional walk with a ground out to keep TU’s hopes alive.
Taylor tried to put the game away early in the contest, as Josh Lane, Nathan Targgart and Sam Wiese all singled in the first for a 1-0 lead and Andrew Kennedy cracked his third home run of the tourney for a 2-0 cushion in the second. TU continued to put runners on the bases throughout the contest, but hit into four double plays while failing to extend the margin.
The Trojans finally got their big hit to secure the win, after Tanner Kolbe was hit by a pitch to open the 12th and back-to-back, one-out walks to Lane and Targgart set the stage for Watson’s game-winner.
Lane and Wiese led TU with two hits each in the 4-2 victory, with Lane scoring twice and Watson knocking in two on the game-winning single.
Fox earned the win on the bump to move to 2-1 on the year and followed Mitch Ubelhor, Kole Barkhaus and Luke Shively into the contest. Shively took the start and fanned five over four scoreless innings, before Barkhaus held HU to one run over three innings. The group piled up 12 strikeouts and held the Foresters to seven hits and two runs over 12 innings.
Taylor (43-12) will now turn its attention to a clash with fifth-seeded Marian (22-24) on Monday at 4:00 pm with a trip to the Crossroads League Tournament Championship game on the line.
In other action on Saturday, Marian topped Saint Francis, while Indiana Wesleyan eliminated Spring Arbor and Mount Vernon Nazarene eliminated Goshen.