A disastrous fourth inning left little doubt that the visiting Marian University Knights would take both games of Tuesday afternoon’s baseball doubleheader at Goshen College. However, a late offensive surge brought the Goshen baseball team back from a 7-0 deficit to a stunning 9-8 victory to split the two games.
The opening game saw Goshen score first and take an early 2-1 lead over Marian before problematic innings in the fourth and fifth allowed Marian to score six runs and hang on for a 7-3 victory. Noah Shail, sophomore, Vincent Caschera, junior, and Austin Rook, first-year, each had an RBI (run batted in) for the Leafs as Goshen was held to only five hits through seven innings. Blake Collins, junior, got the start on the mound for Goshen and went four innings before Xavier Luna, first-year, and then Kyle Kotecki, first-year, would pitch in relief.
The second game saw both teams’ pitchers make quick work of the first two innings before Marian got on the board in the top of the third, when the Knights’ Henry Fisher belted a solo home run to left field to stake Marian a 1-0 lead. Two batters later and RBI double made it 2-0. In the top of the fourth inning, the Maple Leafs appeared to unravel as they had in game one. A five-run inning, where Goshen couldn’t seem to get any kind of a break, left the Leafs down 7-0 going into the bottom of the fifth and about to drop a pair of contests to a conference opponent.
In the bottom of the fifth, Preston Carr, junior, bunted his way to first and came around to score later on an RBI ground out by Shail, and the comeback was underway. Connor Clemons, first-year, Brad Lantz, junior, and Rook also scored in the inning to cut the Knights’ lead to 7-4. Marian would tack on an insurance run in the top of the sixth to make it 8-4, but Goshen would continue their surge on offense in the bottom of the inning, scoring a pair of runs to cut the deficit to 8-6.
In the bottom of the seventh Carr scored again, this time on Caschera’s RBI single, bringing the Leafs within one, 8-7. Clinton Stroble, first-year, made sure to send the Knights home disappointed as he hit a walkoff two-RBI double to complete the comeback as Shail and Caschera crossed home for the tying and winning runs. Caschera and Stroble had a team-high two RBIs apiece with Shail, Rook, Ryan Hartig, junior, and Cody McCoy, junior, each contributing one RBI. James Stricker, first-year, picked up the win for Goshen in a relief effort.
The split leaves Goshen’s record at 14-26 (6-8 in conference play) on the season. The Maple Leafs are back in action on Saturday when they will host conference opponent St. Francis in a doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.