LIMA – Lima Locos lefty Joe Taylor (Kennesaw State) got the big out in the eighth.
Then, he turned it over to his Locos and Kennesaw State teammate closer Taylor for the final out in the ninth inning.
Wilkes (Kennesaw State) got Noah Hahn to ground out to Jeddediah Fagg at third with runners at first and third with two outs in the ninth to lift the Locos to a 5-4 victory over Licking County Wednesday at Simmons Field.
Wilkes needed only two pitches to get the final out to record the save.
“I tried to make them hit the ball,” Wilkes said. “Both were fastballs in the same spot. It was a good feeling to help a teammate out.’’
Taylor came on in the eighth and recorded a strikeout with the bases loaded and two outs to keep the 5-4 lead for the Locos.
“I was thrilled to see the way Joe Taylor threw the ball tonight with three strikeouts,” Locos coach Brian Garman said. “The biggest out of the year so far was the strikeout to end the eighth.’’
Taylor then struck out the first two in the ninth and looked like he was locked in and dominating. Then, out of nowhere, Taylor hit the next two hitters, both with breaking balls.
That’s when Wilkes came on with runners at first and third with two out to save it in the ninth.
The first-place Locos (15-5) won their second straight game over Licking County in two days. Licking County is 8-12.
The Locos are four games ahead of second-place Grand Lake (11-9) in the Central Division.
“That was a big win for us,” Garman said.
Licking County led 4-3 in the top of the seventh.
The Locos took the lead to stay in the home seventh with two runs.
Jaxxon Fagg delivered an RBI single to tie the game at 4. Stephen Dobbs RBI single to short gave the Locos a 5-4 lead.
For the Locos Jaxxon Fagg was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI. Terence Norman, who missed most of the first month with a hamstring injury, went 2 for 3 with a walk.
Colin Stolly went 2 for 4 for the Locos.
The Locos took a 1-0 lead in the second. Stephen Dobbs walked, Stolly singled and Norman walked to load the bases.
Parker Upton’s RBI single to right made it 1-0 Locos.
In the second, Garrett Hodges walked, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch. That gave the Locos a 2-0 lead.
Locos right-hander Colin Gossard started and retired the first 11 batters he faced, including three on strikeouts. Licking’s Miguel Pimentel broke up the no-hitter with a solo home run to left in the fourth. That brought Licking within 2-1.
The Locos made it 3-1 in the fifth. Jack Barrie walked and scored from first on an RBI double to the center-field fence by Jaxxon Fagg.
Licking got within 3-2 in the sixth on an RBI single by Noah Hahn.
Licking County pinch-hitter Henry Eilen launched a two-run homer off reliever Jacob Hulcher to grab a 4-3 lead in the seventh.
Gossard made his return to the mound Wednesday after being out since June 16. He had been battling shingles in his right arm.
Gossard looked sharp, working six innings and giving up two runs, one earned, on two hits. He struck out eight and walked one. Gossard threw 89 pitches, 61 for strikes.
He threw his fastball, breaking ball, slider and change-up consistently for strikes.
“It felt good to be back out there,” Gossard said. “There was a little bit of rust. I just wanted to go out there and let the defense make plays behind me. … In the second inning I started to settle in and got a feel for all my pitches.’’
Added Garman, “It was definitely the Colin Gossard of old. It was a really good outing. He competed and coming off his two-week break, he met the expectations and did exactly what we expected and hoped for him to do.’’
Locos notes: Locos outfielder Will Robertson (Creighton) will miss the rest of the season with a broken bone in his right hand. He had been playing through the injury all summer. He was hitting .292 and led the team in home runs (4) and RBI (18). Robertson left the team on Wednesday and went back to Creighton to have his hand re-examined. … Right-hander Tyler Jones (Dayton) has been sidelined with an illness.
The Locos are sixth in the league in hitting with a .282 average. They are fourth in stolen bases (37). The Locos are averaging 7.3 runs-per-game. The Locos are second in the league in pitching with an ERA of 3.63. … Tyler Tolbert leads the team with 11 stolen bases, while Will Kilgore has 10 and Ethan Hurt has seven.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.