Grand slam sparks Pacific
- Forest Grove News-Times - Sports
Nick McNeely only needed to see one pitch.
McNeely, a sophomore from Hillsboro, took the first pitch he saw from Corban reliever Scott Fitchett and deposited it over the center field fence for a game-winning grand slam, lifting Pacific to an unusual 7-3 victory last Tuesday.
The Boxers (5-9), who had lost five straight heading into Tuesday's non-conference tilt with Corban, were locked in a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the ninth before McNeely's heroics.
Pinch runner Dominic Coca, who came on after sophomore Frankie Guros drew a leadoff walk, advanced to third on a bunt and a wild pitch, prompting Corban head coach Nate Mayben to bring in Fitchett with a two-ball, one-strike count on Pacific's Ryan Bailey. Fitchett walked Bailey, then issued an intentional pass to Jeff Johnston to load the bases. McNeely stepped to the plate and cranked Fitchett's first offering over the wall in center, ending the game in grand fashion.
Tuesday's game had several weird quirks, beginning with Pacific sophomore Kyle Barksdale earning the win without officially facing a batter. Barksdale came on in relief with two outs in the top of the ninth, but threw just three pitches before Corban's Jamie McGraw was thrown out trying to steal.
Pacific led 2-0 after three innings, but watched Corban tie things up with single runs in the fifth and eighth. The Boxers went back ahead in the home half of the eighth when McNeely scored on a suicide squeeze by Barksdale. Oddly, Corban tied things up at 3-3 in the top of the ninth with a suicide squeeze of its own that scored Darren Johnson.
McNeely led Pacific offensively, going 3 for 5 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Zach Gantenbein was 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles.
The shine wore off Tuesday's win in a hurry, however, as the Boxers returned to Northwest Conference play over the weekend and dropped all three games of a series against Pacific Lutheran.
The Lutes took Game 1 of the series on Saturday behind a solid pitching performance from Joe DiPietro, who allowed just three hits over eight innings.
Rain swept in and postponed Game 2, but Pacific Lutheran took care of business on Sunday with a resounding 20-3 victory. The Lutes wrapped up the series with a 7-5 win in the final game.
Next up for Paacific is a home game today against Lewis and Clark at 6 p.m. at Hillsboro Stadium. The Boxers then host Linfield for a three-game set this weekend.