Connor’s walk-off slam completes MCU’s comeback

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Mayfield, KY – Sophomore 1B Adam Connor (Murphysboro, IL/Murphysboro HS) belted a walk-off grand slam home run with no outs in a six-run ninth-inning rally, giving Mid-Continent University (4-3) a come-from-behind 8-5 victory over Hannibal-LaGrange College (0-3), Friday, February 26, at Cougar Field on the MCU campus. MCU won all three games of its series against the Trojans, coming from behind in its last times at-bat in each game. MCU has won four of its last five games.

MCU plays next in non-conference doubleheader action at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee, Tuesday, March 2, beginning at 12 noon.

Mid-Continent trailed 5-2 going into the home half of the ninth inning and scored six times on 4 hits, a walk and a hit batsman, all with no outs. HLG relief pitcher Josey Garnett, the third Trojan pitcher, walked the first hitter, freshman 2B Joe Joe Simms (Springfield, KY/Washington County HS) and hit sophomore 2B Daniel Edwards (Paducah, KY/Lone Oak HS/Rend Lake CC, IL) with a pitch. Freshman catcher Brantley Barrett (Benton, KY/Marshall County HS) bounced a double over the third-base bag and down the left-field line, scoring Simms from second base as Edwards raced to third base. Junior Nathan Lawrence (Wickliffe, KY/Ballard Memorial HS/SE Illinois College) followed with a bloop single to shallow right-centerfield, scoring Edwards. Pinch-runner Erick Holt (Hickory, KY/Graves County HS) held at second base on the fly ball hit but advanced to third on the next hit, a single by junior SS Lance Davis (Paducah, KY/Heath HS) that loaded the bases.

Connor then lifted a 1-1 pitch over the right-field fence for a walk-off grand slam home run, his first home run of the season, and leads MCU with 6 RBI for the season.

MCU totaled 9 hits, 3 by Davis and 2 by senior 3B Steven Riley (Mayfield, KY/Graves County HS), including a third-inning double down the left-field line. MCU also received 2 walks and 4 hit batsmen against HLG pitching, with Garnett (0-1) taking the loss after allowing 6 runs, all earned, 4 hits and a walk in two innings of work but failed to retire any Cougars in the ninth inning. HLG starter Elvin Chavez allowed 2 earned runs, 5 hits, 3 hit batsmen, and a walk and struck out 2 hitters in 5-2/3 innings of work before being lifted in the bottom of the sixth with Simms on third base after slamming a triple to deep left-centerfield. LHP Chris Kuenzle retired the last batter of the inning, stranding Simms.

The Cougars had drawn first blood in the first inning when Davis lifted the first pitch he saw over the right-centerfield fence for his third home run of the season. Davis is hitting .462 so far this season (12-26) with 2 doubles, a triple and 3 home runs and 5 RBI in the first seven games.

After HLG tied the game at 1-1 on an RBI by DH Bryant Fernetti, MCU took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning on a delayed double steal of home plate by Edwards with Barrett staying in a rundown long enough to allow him to score.

HLG totaled 8 hits, 3 by 1B Levi Graham and 2 RBI singles by Fernetti, and received 5 walks and one hit batsmen from three Cougar pitchers. Freshman RHP Sam Toby (Paducah, KY/Marshall County HS) pitched three innings in his first collegiate start, allowing 2 earned runs, 4 hits, 3 walks and striking out 2 Trojans.

Freshman LHP Allen Haase (Boaz, KY/Lone Oak HS) pitched the next four innings, allowing 2 earned runs, 2 hits and a walk and striking out 2. HLG took a 4-2 lead against Haase with runs in the fifth and sixth innings on Fernetti’s second RBI single of the game and a sacrifice fly by CF Matt Savage.

Hannibal-LaGrange scored its fifth and final run in the top of the ninth inning against sophomore RHP Jacob McMican (Marion, KY/Crittenden County HS/Three Rivers CC, MO), putting runners on first and third with one out and scoring as MCU turned a double play in the middle of the infield.

McMican, now 2-2 this season, allowed one earned run, 2 hits and a walk in 2 innings of work and earned the victory when MCU scored six times in the bottom of the ninth, completing the three-game sweep when Connor hit his walk-off grand slam.

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