Feb. 15, 2004
USAF Academy, Colo. - Air Force baseball split a pair of non-conference games on a bright and sunny but cold Sunday at Falcon Field. The Falcons lost 13-8 to Creighton in the morning game and rallied for the second time in as many days to defeat Southern Utah, 15-12, in a marathon game two. The Falcons are now 2-4 on the season.
In game one, a late game rally was not enough for Air Force as Creighton (1-1) won 13-8. Trailing 12-3, AFA struck for five runs in the seventh inning, but failed to score any more runs.
Jeff Daneff (1-0) picked up the win for the Jays in relief. Falcon starter Paul Vignola (0-1) took the loss, allowing four runs off of 10 hits, while striking out five in four innings or work.
Creighton outhit AFA, 21-9, led by Tony Roth and Zach Deages. Roth went 5-for-6 and Deages went 4-for-5. Ryan Fitzgerald was the top hitter for the Falcons, going 2-for-4 with a double, triple and three RBI.
Creighton got on the scoreboard first as Roth scored on a wild pitch by Vignola after doubling to lead off the game. The Jays tacked on two more runs in the second to take a 3-0 lead. Chase Odenreider then homered to center in the fourth to make it 4-0 CU.
Creighton starter Eric Wordekemper mowed through the Air Force lineup the first time around, striking out six batters--four looking--as he faced just nine batters in the first three innings. Wordekemper went four innings, striking out seven batters and allowing two runs on two hits.
After failing to get a runner on base in the first three innings, Air Force responded with a pair of runs in the fourth. Colton Walter walked to lead off the inning and advanced to third on double down the left field line by Reid Lamson. Fitzgerald then grounded out to score Walter. Mike Rose followed up with a single to right, scoring Lamson.
The Bluejays came right back to score five runs in the following two innings off Falcon reliever Blake Nixon to jump out to a 9-2 lead. In the fifth inning, Creighton scored two runs on an infield single and throwing error. CU added three more in the sixth with Matt Hammer's three-run homer over the right field fence. The Jays scored another three runs in the seventh to extend its lead to 12-3.
AFA rallied back with five runs on six hits in the seventh. After Nathan DeRohan reached on an error, the next six batters for Air Force recorded a hit in the inning.
In a wild game two, the Falcons rallied from a 6-2 defecit, highlighted by an eight-run fifth inning, to win 15-12. Starter Ken Hodgson (1-1) picked up his first career win, allowing six runs, four earned, while striking out four in five innings pitched. Mitch Brown picked up the save by pitching a scoreless final 1.1 innings in relief.
Southern Utah jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings. Mike Martin homered in the second inning and SUU strung together a walk, four straight hits and an error to add three more runs in the third.
The Falcons, who were shut out of the first three innings, went on to score all 15 of their runs in the next three innings.
AFA got warmed up in the fourth, scoring two runs off back-to-back singles by Jon Polston and Josh Wolfram. After spotting SUU a run in the top of the fifth, the Falcons exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 10-6 lead.
Air Force sent 13 batters to the plate in the fifth, as the Southern Utah bullpen gave up four walks and four hits in an inning that lasted close to an hour. After giving back three runs to SUU in the top of the sixth, the Falcons responded by scoring five runs in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by six consecutive Cadet base hits.
Southern Utah responded with three more runs in the eighth to close the gap to three at 15-12. But Brown came into the game in the eighth and kept SUU scoreless for the final four outs.
Air Force pounded out 18 hits in the game, led by three-hit performances by Fitzgerald (3-for-5), Karl Bolt (3-for-5, 3 RBI) and Wolfram (3-for-4). Southern Utah had 12 hits, led by Jason Ruiz, who went 3-for-4 with four runs scored. Mike Bolingbroke also homered for SUU.
AFA will be off for the next 11 days, returning to action on Friday, Feb. 27, against Kentucky at the Service Academies Spring Classic in Millington, Tenn.
Creighton Game notes: Sophomore Jason Brown singled and drove in two runs in his first at bat of the season... Freshman Zach Reimer (Fort Worth, Texas) made his collegiate debut for Air Force with a pinch-hit RBI double to right center in the seventh inning... Freshman Jonathan Stralka (Anchorage, Alaska) made his collegiate debut for AFA by striking out in a pinch-hit appearance in the third inning.
Southern Utah Game notes: Sophomore Josh Oakley (Littleton) had a seventh inning RBI-single in his first career at bat for the Falcons... Junior left-hander Ken Hodgson picks up his first career win in his 25th career appearance... Freshman Mitch Brown picks up his first career and first of save of the season for the Falcons... Walter and Bolt extended their hitting streaks to five games... Mike Rose and Ryan Fitzgerald both have a four game hitting streak.