After the Buccaneers fell behind 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth frame of a Region XIV South Zone baseball game, their bats got going in the sixth and paved the way for a 9-7, 10-inning victory over the Whitecaps in Galveston, Texas.
Blinn tied the game with four runs in the ninth.
“We’ve said it all season: You’ve got to get all 27 outs,” Blinn head coach Dusty Hart said. “Sometimes you have to get 30 outs. The guys didn’t give up and kept grinding, and when you do that, you never know what’s going to happen.”
The victory pushed the first-place Buccaneers – who recently clinched the top seed in the South – to 37-13 overall and 24-9 in the South.
The Bucs finished with 10 hits – all singles – to go with nine walks.
Blinn reached the scoreboard with a single run in the sixth, made possible by an RBI single off the bat of sophomore Tate Bethel which scored sophomore Ian Collier. The Bucs then added two runs in the seventh before staging its four-run rally in the ninth to force extra innings.
After Freshman Jake Kolkhorst slapped a two-run single to make it 7-5 in the ninth, freshman Tony Vernars singled on a ground ball that sent freshman Kash Durking and sophomore Ryan Scott to the plate for a 7-7 tie.
In the 10th, Kolkhorst reached on a fielder’s choice that also resulted in an error that allowed Scott to score from second base. Freshman Coy DeFury then singled in Bethel for a two-run advantage.
“We didn’t fight much early in the game,” Hart said. “But we figured out how to get through it, and once we locked in and started playing, it was fun.”
Kolkhorst finished with two hits and three RBIs, and Bethel had two hits and drove in two. Vernars also ended his day with two RBIs.
Blinn’s comeback was also due in part to a shutdown performance from its bullpen.
After freshman Shane Connell left with two outs in the fourth inning, freshman relievers Carson McKinney, Nick Anello, and Cody Pfeffer combined for 6 1/3 scoreless frames.
Pfeffer earned the win after tossing two innings of one-hit ball with three strikeouts and two walks.
“The bullpen is one of the strengths of this ballclub,” said Hart. “The entire season, the job that they’ve done, it’s incredible. Most games at this level are won and lost in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. As a pitching staff, you have to have guys who are unselfish and are willing to go out there and do the job in front of them, and these kids have done that.”
Connell settled a no-decision after giving up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits with three walks and a strikeout in 3 2/3 innings of work.
Up next, Blinn will end the regular season with a doubleheader against Galveston beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 28, at Leroy Dreyer Field in Brenham, Texas.
With the Region XIV South Tournament one week away, Hart said he will push his ballclub to continue to play hard, fundamental baseball with the postseason fast approaching.
“On Friday, we’re going to have the same mindset we’ve had all year, which is just play good baseball,” Hart said. “We want to play hard and play the game the right way, and just play harder than the other team plays.”
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 43 NJCAA national championships since 1987.