Gunn lifts Eagles over OCU in the ninth




University of Southern Indiana junior third baseman Trent Gunn (Tell City, Indiana) scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth to lift the 18th-ranked Screaming Eagles to a 7-6 victory over Oakland City University Tuesday evening at the USI Baseball Field. The Eagles go to 31-8 overall, while Oakland City falls to 4-23.

The non-conference victory also takes USI’s winning streak to a season-high 10 games and 17 of the last 18 contests.

USI had control of the game through the first five innings by scoring a tally in their first three at-bats to lead 3-0. Senior leftfielder Brent Weinzapfel (Evansville, Indiana) singled home junior shortstop Matt Chavarria (Carlsbad, New Mexico) to start the scoring in the first frame, while junior rightfielder Kyle Kempf (Evansville, Indiana) drove in a run in the second with a sacrifice fly and senior designated hitter Bryce Shoulders (Newburgh, Indiana) singled in the third run in the third.

The Mighty Oaks would battle back to tie the game, 3-3, with two runs in the sixth and a single tally in the seventh. The Eagles seemed to regain command in the bottom of the seventh with a three-run rally, featuring a two-run double by Weinzapfel and re-establishing the three-run advantage, 6-3.

USI would take the 6-3 lead into the ninth when the Eagles’ bullpen hit a rough patch, allowing three runs to knot the game at 6-6. USI junior right-hander Scott Haag (Ft. Wayne Indiana) and Chavarria, the USI right-handed closer, allowed three runs on one hit, two walks, and a hit batter. Depsite the rough outing, Chavarria (2-0) posted his second win of the year.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Eagles took advantage of the Mighty Oak’s bullpen to manufacture the win. Gunn started the inning with a walk, advanced second on a sacrifice, moved to third and scored on a wild pitch.

On the mound, sophomore right-hander Tyler Nichols (Newburgh, Indiana) went the first five innings and did not factor in the decision. Nichols scattered three hits and two walks, while striking out two in five innings of work.

Senior right-handed reliever Brandon Shaw (Cuba, Illinois) followed Nichols and went a third of an inning, allowing two runs, one earned, and a walk. Junior right-hander Andrew Mercer (Mount Pearl, Newfoundland) was the Eagles’ best reliever of the evening, allowing two hits and a run in 2.2 innings.

The Eagles conclude the 11-game homestand this weekend when they host Saint Joseph’s College for a four-game Great Lakes Valley Conference series. The series starts Friday at 6 p.m., continues Saturday with a 2 p.m. doubleheader, and concludes Sunday with Senior Day at 2 p.m.