Eagles lose heartbreaker to start regional

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The 19th-ranked University of Southern Indiana baseball team lost a heartbreaker in the ninth inning versus Saint Joseph’s College, 5-4, during the first day of the 2017 NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Thursday evening in Midland, Michigan. USI, the second seed in the regional, watched its record go to 32-20 overall, while Saint Joseph’s, the seven-seed, goes to 35-20.

The Screaming Eagles continue NCAA II Midwest Regional action Friday at 12:30 p.m. (CDT) when they play an elimination game versus the loser of Quincy University (32-20), the third seed, and Wayne State University (31-19), the sixth-seed.

For live coverage and information about USI in the 2017 NCAA post-season, visit GoUSIEagles.com.

After the Pumas struck first with a tally in the top of the third, the Eagles rallied to tie the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the fifth. USI junior third baseman Angel Torres (Puerto Rico) drove in the tying run with an RBI single, scoring junior first baseman Nathan Kuester (Rockport, Indiana).

Saint Joseph’s regained the lead in the top of the sixth, 3-1, with a pair of tallies with two outs. USI cut the two-run deficit in half, 3-2, during the bottom half of the frame when Kuester drove in junior rightfielder Nick Gobert (Jasper, Indiana) with a sacrifice fly after the Eagles had loaded the bases with no one out.

The Eagles rallied once again in the eighth, scoring twice to take a 4-3 advantage. Junior shortstop Sam Griggs (Evansville, Indiana) started the scoring with an RBI-double before Kuester gave the Eagles’ their only the lead with his second RBI sacrifice fly of the game.

The Pumas, however, were not about to surrender in the ninth. They regained the upper-hand with a game-winning two-run blast off the bat of second baseman Joe Kenney.

Senior right-hander Justin Watts (Bryan, Ohio) took the loss for the Eagles. Watts (5-3) worked 1.2 innings and allowed two runs on the ninth inning home run.

USI junior right-hander Kyle Griffin (Morganfield, Kentucky) started and picked up the no-decision. Griffin allowed a tally on five hits during the first four innings. Senior right-hander Lucas Barnett (Sellersburg, Indiana) followed Griffin to the mound, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out three in 3.1 innings of work.

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