Final inning victory for Hornets
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After a rough fourth inning, the Emporia State Hornet baseball team came back in the final two innings to defeat the Central Missouri Mules in the bottom of the ninth, sparked by a homer from Dean Long, junior infielder.
“If you want to win in our league at our level, you have to go fight for it,” said Bob Fornelli, head coach. “I thought we fought for it… We got to learn from it and keep getting better, but I thought we competed very hard tonight.”
Levi Parker, junior infielder, started the scoring out for the Hornets coming home off an RBI single from Toby Cornerjo, senior shortstop, in the bottom of the first. Both teams went scoreless in the second and third.
The Mules took the lead in the fourth scoring an RBI single and another two-run single up the right side. The next three innings were scoreless with Matt Hinkley, junior relief pitcher, running down UCM’s Trevor Jones between third and home and then striking out the Mules pinch hitter in the top of the seventh.
Parker would again lead off with a double, being run in with a home run from Long to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth.
“Stay in the moment is what I tell everybody in a pressure situation,” Long, a recreations major, said. “The bats weren’t alive and I just wanted to put the ball in play to keep the inning going. It was a good at bat and it worked out fine.”
An error helped Justin Harris, junior outfielder, get on base in the bottom of the ninth. The Mules closer, Zach Davis walked the next two at bats to load the bases before Parker would chop one a few feet in front of the plate to run home Harris for the win.
Parker went two for five, scoring two runs and the game winning RBI. Long went one for four, striking out his first three times at bat, before hitting a two-run homer.
“Dean, no matter how bad his last at bat is he never takes it to his next one,” Minkley, a health promotions major, said. “I always have faith in Dean.”
The Hornets now get ready for a four-game series this weekend against the Ichobods of Washburn, traveling to Topeka Friday and Sunday. They will have a doubleheader at Emporia Saturday.