LIMA ‚?? The Lexington infield was pulled way in.
Lima Locos infielder Cody Strong was looking for a ball he could poke into the outfield grass.
That‚??s exactly what Strong did.
Strong took an 0-2 pitch and hit it into shallow right field for an RBI single with the bases loaded and no outs in the home 11th inning to give the Locos a 5-4 walk-off victory over Lexington on Saturday at Simmons Field.
‚??I was just looking for a pitch I could drive to the outfield,‚?Ě Strong said. ‚??I was trying to get a fly ball where they could tag up or really just put the ball in play hard somewhere.‚?Ě
It was the Locos‚?? fifth straight victory as they lifted their record to 9-5. Lexington is 6-9.
In the home 11th, Mackenzie Hampshire reached when he was hit by a pitch. A.J. Flores put down a bunt that Lexington pitcher Joey Batuello threw high to second for an error. That put runners on first and second.
Matt Furuto put down a perfect bunt single down the third-base line to load the bases with no outs.
That set up Strong‚??s game-winning hit against submariner Batuello.
‚??I got my hands through it and got it over second,‚?Ě he said.
Lexington led 4-0 after three innings against Locos starter Tyler Miller.
But the Locos scored two in the sixth and added two in the eighth to tie the game at 4. In the eighth, the Locos tied the game on an RBI groundout to second by Tyler Grogg.
Keeping the game close was the Locos‚?? bullpen, which compiled 8 2/3 shutout, five-hit innings. Travis Bergen went 2 2/3 while Tyler Murphy went two and Jason Gamble went one.
Finishing it off for the win was Justin McCalvin, who tossed three innings of shutout, one-hit ball. He struck out four.
‚??It was a matter of guts and competing for my spot,‚?Ě McCalvin said. ‚??I‚??m not guaranteed the ninth, so I have to earn it.‚?Ě
‚??Eight innings and no runs, that‚??s incredible,‚?Ě Locos coach Chad Ehrnsberger said of the bullpen. ‚??They gave our hitters a chance.‚?Ě
For the Locos, Furuto went 4 for 5 with an RBI, including two bunt hits. Jose Cruz went 2 for 5. Strong was 2 for 4. Hampshire was 1 for 3 with a walk and two hit by pitches.
‚??Four hits, he (Furuto) puts the bat on the ball and makes things happen,‚?Ě Ehrnsberger said. ‚??He always gives you a good at-bat and he puts the ball in play.‚?Ě
Locos notes: Former Locos coach Daniel Furuto threw batting practice on Saturday. Furuto is an assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator at Union College. ‚?Ľ Over the last three games, the Locos have lifted their batting average from .192 to .232, which is fourth the league. ‚?Ľ Tyler Grogg had one steal to give him 17 for the year. ‚?Ľ Lexington is back at Simmons Field at 7 p.m. tonight.
Locos win, 5-4