Air Force Splits A Pair Of Games Friday At Papa John's Palm Beach Challenge
March 7, 2008
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Air Force baseball team defeated Ohio State, 9-8, and lost to Lehigh, 15-14, Friday in its first day of action at the Papa John's Palm Beach Challenge at the Santaluces Sports Complex. The Falcons improved to 3-6 on the season by rallying to a wild, come-from-behind walk-off win against the Buckeyes.
Sophomore Addison Gentry single-handedly rallied the Falcons against Ohio State (4-3). Trailing 4-3 in the seventh inning, Gentry hit a three-run homer to put the Falcons ahead 6-4. After squadering the lead and trailing 8-6 headed into the ninth inning, Gentry came through again as he ripped a two-run triple to tie the game.
After Gentry's triple, Ohio State opted to intentionally walk Ben Ausbun and Jason Griggs to load the bases with one out . Jon McMahon then got hit by a pitch to score Gentry for the game-winning run as the Falcons poured out of the dugout in celebration at home plate. Air Force has now defeated opponents from the SEC and Big 10 Conference so far this season.
Brad Pingel (2-0) picked up the win, pitching the final 1.2 innings in relief for the Falcons. Colin Shepherd went five solid innings in his first-career start, holding the Buckeyes to three runs on five hits while striking out three. Jeff Abt and Michael Ruvolo also provided solid relief outings.
Drew Rucinski (1-1) took the loss for Ohio State. Buckeye starter Dan DeLucia went 5.2 innings, striking out nine. Ohio State had 12 hits in the game, with Cory Rupert going 3-for-5 with two runs and RBI. Tony Kennedy also homered for OSU.
In the Lehigh (6-6) game, the Falcons rallied from a 15-8 defecit with six unanwered runs in the final two innings. Unfortunately, they needed eight to win. With winds gusting out to right field, the two teams combined to hit seven home runs and commit nine errors.
Senior Jake Allen went 3-for-5 for the Falcons with back-to-back homers in the eighth and ninth innings. Hitting out of the ninth slot in the order, Allen scored three runs and drove in five runs for Air Force, which had 15 hits on the day. Matt Alexander and Jon McMahon also homered for the Falcons.
Lehigh had 18 hits in the game with Joe Ercolano, Logan Marshall and Billy Goldman hitting home runs. Marshall and Goldman combined to drive in nine runs with Marshall driving in four and Goldman five. Mountain Hawk starter Joe Matteo (2-0) picked up with win with 6.2 innings of work, striking out nine and allowing eight runs.
The Falcons return to action tomorrow, March 8, taking on Maine at 2:15 p.m. and UConn at 6:30 p.m. EST back at the Santaluces Sports Complex.