By BRIAN JOHNSON
ADA — Gus Bordones’ sacrifice fly to center field in the bottom of the ninth inning, capped a three-run rally as East Central University successfully launched the 2006 baseball season Thursday with a 9-8 victory over St. Gregory’s University in cool, windy conditions at Tiger Field.
The Tigers’ ninth-inning rally began when Matt Stout drew a one-out walk. Then Jay Neal followed with a single to left off new reliever Matt Bloom. That hit advanced Stout to second base. Cody Carrier then singled through the left side of the infield to bring home Stout and pull ECU within 8-7.
Greg Minter then came in to pinch-hit for designated hitter Jason Wellington. Minter was hit by a Bloom pitch to load up the bases. Josh Odell then relieved Bloom, but surrendered a walk to Clay Mack as Neal scored the game-tying run.
Then on a 3-2 count, Bordones connected for a long drive to deep center. Carrier tagged up on Adam Hess’ catch and easily jogged home for the game-winning run.
However, the game was anything but easy for the Tigers. ECU did a bulk of its scoring (five runs) in the second inning and saw the Cavaliers eventually tie it up at 5-5 in the fifth on Adam Weller’s one-out, solo-homer.
Stout gave the Tigers a 6-5 advantage in the seventh when he led off with single and advanced two bases on a pair of wild pitches. Neal then delivered a single to right-center, scoring Stout for the one-run ECU lead.
SGU once again countered with two runs in the eighth and more in the ninth for an 8-6 cushion.
Neal went 3-for-5 from the plate to spark ECU’s 12-hit attack. He also drove in two runs and scored twice.
Bordones went 2-for-4 with a run scored and his RBI off the sacrifice fly. Carrier was 2-for-5 with a run scored and one RBI.
Freshman right-hander Logan Davis (1-0) got the win after facing just one batter in the ninth and recording a strikeout. Southpaw David Henley started the game and worked six innings while receiving relief help from Zak Wallis and Matt Kennell. Davis came on in the ninth.
Bloom (0-1) suffered the loss for the Cavaliers, who compiled 11 hits. SGU also used four pitchers in the game as Chris Kuch started and worked six complete innings.
Weller, Hess and Cory Underhill collected two hits apiece for the Cavaliers (1-4).
ECU was plagued by four errors in the game while SGU ended up with only one.
The Tigers were scheduled to host Oklahoma Panhandle State today in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.