February 22, 2014

Hall’s Three-Run Double Ties Score, Then Roque Wins It with Walk-Off Single

Wildcats Rally in Ninth to Beat Colorado Northwestern

Talk about having your back against the wall and responding.

Western Nevada College trailed Colorado Northwestern 3-0 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday night in Henderson and still found a way to win.

Sam Hall slammed a bases-clearing double off the center-field fence to tie the score and then Tony Roque hit the next pitch up the middle to score pinch-runner Jeremy Alderman with the winning run.

The 4-3 comeback victory raised the 14th-ranked Wildcats’ season record to 10-5.

“It was incredible,” WNC coach D.J. Whittemore said. “It was a game you’d dream of watching.”

Gregg Reynolds’ two-out, two-run single off Rayne Raven put the Spartans ahead 3-0 in the ninth inning.

CNCC brought in Mathew Mannens to close out the win, and it looked like the freshman right-hander would, striking out Joey Crunkilton to start the bottom of the ninth. But Raven lined his second double of the game to begin the comeback. Spenser Dorsey walked to bring the tying run to the plate, but Mannens fanned Austin Andrews looking.

Down to the final out, Kody Reynolds was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Hall then worked the count in his favor at 3-1 before crushing Mannens’ offering off the fence to drive in three runs to tie the game.

“It was a towering fly ball to center that we thought might go out or they might catch it. We didn’t know until the ball hit the ground,” Whittemore said.

Next, Roque didn’t waste any time delivering the game-winner, sending the first pitch from Mannens back up the middle to plate Alderman for their second victory of the day.

“It was a good time to be aggressive,” Whittemore said. “Tony is a grinder and good for him.”

Sophomore Conor Harber started on the mound for the Wildcats and tossed seven innings and struck out five in a row at one point.

“He could have gone more than seven innings, but we were being cautious with him, being that it is so early in the year,” Whittemore said.

The Wildcats proved earlier in the day that they don’t dwell on their one-run defeats. After suffering the narrowest of losses for the third time in 13 games a day earlier, the Wildcats rebounded with an 11-1 victory against College of Southern Idaho.

Freshman pitcher Max Karnos threw a four-hitter and freshman infielder Austin Andrews knocked in three runs as the Wildcats bounced back from a 4-3 defeat to Salt Lake on Friday. Following each of their one-run defeats this season, the Wildcats have won the next game by at least six runs.

CSI took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Jordan Godman and Preston Young hit consecutive triples.

But WNC’s bats awakened in its half of the third as the Wildcats scored five times after two were out. A two-run homer by Dorsey and a triple by Andrews ignited the rally. Raven and Harber also did some damage, contributing RBI singles.

WNC scored three runs in the fourth inning and three in the sixth to close out the game early because of a 10-run mercy rule.

In the fourth, Alex Fife rapped a RBI single and Andrews stroked a two-run double to put WNC ahead 8-1.

Andrews and Brandon Lapointe hit RBI singles in the sixth as the Wildcats increased their lead to 10 runs.

After CSI’s back-to-back triples in the third inning, Karnos allowed just one more hit. Karnos (2-0) struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.

The Wildcats will conclude their four-game schedule against SWAC teams in Henderson on Sunday when they meet rival College of Southern Nevada at noon.

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