GGC baseball escaped with another series victory this past weekend over 19th-ranked Indiana Tech after their first walk-off win on Saturday and some lockdown relief efforts from bullpen arms. Senior outfielder Brody Wofford’s third hit of game three came in the bottom of the ninth and promptly ended the contest sending the Grizzlies into a frenzy of celebration.
Indiana Tech tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth inning after a few timely hits and a big home run, but freshman reliever Alec Kliphouse came in and controlled the damage to keep them from taking the lead. Indiana Tech threatened to take the lead again in the eighth inning after a dribbler down the third base line bounced off the bag and into left field for a leadoff double. The next batter laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runner to third base with only one out.
“All I’m thinking about right there with a guy on third and less than two outs is getting a big strikeout,” Kliphouse said, and that’s exactly what happened. A strikeout and another out to follow got the Grizzlies out of a huge jam and swung the momentum back in their favor. Kliphouse would finish his outing with 3.2 innings pitched in relief with no earned runs allowed and only three hits given up, an amazing performance having come into the game in the fifth with the ballgame tied and sending it into the ninth still all knotted up.
Matthew Swain would eventually come on in the ninth and get the win on the mound in the decisive game three, after striking out one in a clean top of the ninth. Swain talked about how he didn’t treat this outing any different than he would have a save situation where he was looking to end the game, even though this time around he wasn’t sure when the game would end or how many times he would be asked to run back out there.
“I really just try to treat every game the same, focus on competing, and just taking it one pitch at a time, no matter the situation,” Swain said.
These big shutdown innings from the Grizzly relievers set the table for an exciting bottom of the ninth inning, and the top of the lineup didn’t disappoint. After a single from leadoff man CJ Ballard put the pressure on, the Indiana Tech reliever then walked Cam Coursey, allowing for Brody Wofford to come to the plate with a runner in scoring position. After a 2-2 breaking ball almost hit Wofford, he crushed a fastball into right to walk it off.
“I was just looking dead red over the middle of the plate because I figured they weren’t going to try to walk me right there and load the bases. I was just trying to get the (bat) head out and catch something out front,” said Wofford.
What They’re Saying
“Wofford showed big time fight right there coming through in a clutch situation. When Kliphouse came in, we were in a jam, and not only did he get us out of that one in the fifth, but he didn’t give in in the eighth either and came up with that really big strikeout.” — Assistant Coach Andy Threatt
“It’s a big team win, and I just can’t thank the team enough for just putting their hearts out there and putting everything on the line for us.” — Brody Wofford
The Grizzlies will take on Thomas University in their next home contest this Tuesday, March 19 at 5 p.m., as the team looks for revenge after suffering a series loss at the hands of the unranked Night Hawks earlier this season.