Southern Utah infielder Brent Francom drove home the game-winning run with a bases-loaded, one-out single in the bottom of the ninth as the Thunderbirds rallied past Cal State Northridge, 9-8, in SUU's second game at the Arizona State/Bob Schaefer Memorial Classic Saturday. With the win, Southern Utah evened its record to 3-3 on the year, while CSUN fell to 5-16 overall.
Southern Utah batted around in the second inning, scoring five runs on a bases-loaded walk to Kelcey Kemp and two-run base hits by Ryan Duvall and Jake Reynolds to take a 5-1 lead. The Matadors rallied with four runs in the fifth inning on back-to-back RBI doubles by Keith Bowman and Jesse Perez, who then tied the game at 5-5 by scoring on a Michael Paulk infield single. Northridge then reclaimed the lead at 7-5 with two more runs in the sixth thanks to an RBI-single by Aaron McKenzie. McKenzie then stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a bunt-single by Brian Lake.
Duvall brought SUU back to within 7-6 with his third hit of the game, an opposite-field single to left, which drove home Tyler Campbell. The Thunderbirds then tied the game at 7-7 after a two-out infield throwing error plated Kemp. Bowman answered right back in the top half of the ninth with a lead-off home run off T-Bird reliever Steven Stoker.
Pinch-hitter Kurtis Yocum got SUU's ninth-inning rally started with a one-out single through the right side. Campbell then drove Yocum home with a double to right center. After intentional walks to Kemp and Duvall to load the bases, Francom took Matador reliever Justin Zarley's 1-0 pitch back up the middle to bring in pinch-runner Shelby Guest to end the game.
SUU pounded out a season-high 10 hits. Duvall finished the game 3-for-4 with two walks, three RBI and a run scored, while Campbell was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. The T-Bird bullpen limited Northridge to just two runs on four hits over the final 3.2 innings in relief of starter Shane Perkins, who allowed six runs on seven hits with two strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work.
Northridge finished with 12 hits, including three for McKenzie with two RBI and two runs scored.
Southern Utah closes play the ASU tournament with a match-up against in-state rival Utah at 10:00 a.m. (MST), at Packard Stadium on the ASU campus.