Cougars Get Extra Innings Walkoff Win Over Owls

Kyle Bonicki went 2-for-5 with a double, triple and two runs scored in the 4-3 win over Keene State.
Kyle Bonicki went 2-for-5 with a double, triple and two runs scored in the 4-3 win over Keene State.

Worcester, Mass. – For the second time in as many days, Clark University rallied for a thrilling come-from-behind win, this time taking down Keene State, 4-3, in ten innings in non-league baseball action on Sunday afternoon at a chilly Granger Baseball Diamond.

Game Information
Score:
Clark University 4, Keene State 3
Records: Clark University 2-0; Keene State 0-1
Location: Granger Baseball Diamond, Worcester, Mass.

How It Happened:
Kyle Bonicki
(Waterbury, Conn.) raced home from second in the bottom of the tenth on an outfield fielding error and scored the winning run as the Scarlet and White scored four unanswered runs to rally past the Owls.

The game was moving along quickly as starting pitchers Patrick Robinson (Watertown, Conn.) and Michael Crimi (Bethel, Conn.) moved through their respective opposing lineups with ease. Keene State finally broke through in the top of the fourth when they had runners on second and third after a walk and an Abe Grainger (Bedford, Mass.) double down the left field line. That was followed up by a ringing two run single to center by Connor Longley (Foxboro, Mass.) to put the visitors in front.

It looked as if the Owls would add a few more after they strung together three straight singles with one out in the top of the sixth to load the bases against Cougar reliever Cam Smith (Gorham, Maine). Smith, however, was able to induce Mac Struthers (Strafford, N.H.) into a tailor made 4-6-3 twin killing to escape the frame unscathed.

Meanwhile, Crimi was working through the Cougar lineup without much resistance and at one point retired 12 in a row.

That streak ended in the bottom of the seventh when Adam Chochrek (Foxboro, Mass.) drew a two-out walk, Zach Kelley (Hadley, Mass.) smacked a single to right and then Andrew Thibault (Nashua, N.H.) walked as well to load the bases. Crimi was able to finish off the inning without allowing any damage as he got Nick Jordan (Seaford, N.Y.) to strike out on a check swing.

Keene State tacked on another run in the eighth when singles from Nate Rossi (Hampstead, N.H.) and Devon Springfield (Jaffrey, N.H.) led to a sacrifice fly from John Tarascio (Wethersfield, Conn.).

Down, 3-0, the Cougars began mounting their rally in the bottom of the eighth when pinch hitter Tyler Hutchinson (Greene, Maine) drew a leadoff walk and then moved to second on wild pitch and then on to third on a Collin Porter (Brookfield, Conn.) flyout. Kyle Shaw (Litchfield, N.H.), who got the start in centerfield, smacked an RBI single to right that finally got Clark on the board.

Bonicki followed with a triple to the right centerfield gap, bringing home Shaw making the score, 3-2. Teddy Downing (Cambridge, Mass.) delivered the game-tying run in the form of Bonicki with his subsequent single up the middle.

Reliever Joshua Dobratz (Southington, Conn.) recorded a 1-2-3 ninth and then got a 1-6-3 double play to end the top of the tenth, setting up the Cougar heroics.

Bonicki found the left field gap and sprinted into second base with his second extra base hit of the day. After Downing flied out to left, David Rotando (Cold Spring, N.Y.) lifted a ball into right field and as Zach Wullbrandt (Keene, N.H.) came under it, the ball banged off of the heel of his glove and far enough away for Bonicki to scamper home with the game winning run.

Inside The Boxscore:
Dobratz picked up the win in relief, tossing two scoreless innings and recording a pair of strikeouts. Crimi, meanwhile, pitched well but didn't factor in the decision. He went seven strong innings, allowing just two hits while striking out seven.

Granger and Longley each had two hits for the Owls and Bonicki (2-for-5, double, triple, two runs scored) was the lone Cougar with multiple hits.

Coach Speak:
"This was a very good team win for us," said Clark University head coach J.P. Pyne. "Our depth really showed today – I think we used 20 players. Overall, it was a big weekend for us, but we have a lot of work to do moving forward."

Up Next:
Keene State – Saturday, March 4 at TCNJ, 11:00 a.m.
Clark University – Saturday, March 4 vs. Iowa Wesleyan, 3:00 p.m. (Auburndale, Fla.).

2017 Baseball Season Preview
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