The Beloit College baseball team kicked off the 2018 season in exciting fashion Sunday afternoon, a non-conference game against a league opponent that took 12 innings to determine a winner. The Bucs fell to Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. 13-10 in 12 innings, a game that took nearly four hours to complete. A doubleheader was originally scheduled for Sunday, however, the length of the first game caused concern with the amount daylight left and the nightcap for the varsity squads was cancelled.
The Prairie Fire struck first with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Beloit countered on a long ball off the bat of sophomore second baseman Terrance Cribbs (Willowbrook, Ill.) to lead off the top of the second.
After blanking Knox in the next half inning, Robbie Achromowicz (Alameda, Calif.) sparked the Bucs’ offense and Beloit tallied six runs on three hits with the help of three errors in the top of the third. The senior left fielder led off the inning with a single and advanced all the way to third on an error by the Knox pitcher. Senior shortstop Mark Christine (Huntington Beach, Calif.) drew a walk to put runners on the corners and center fielder Jalen Davis (Chicago, Ill.) singled to score Achromowicz. Senior catcher Jeremy Dutton (Plainfield, Ill.) walked to load the bases and Cribbs dialed in once again with an RBI single. A fielder’s choice and two more Prairie Fire errors plated three more runs for Beloit to give the Bucs a 7-1 advantage heading into the bottom of the third.
Knox pulled to within one in their half of the inning plating five runs on five hits and the Prairie Fire reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fourth with two runs on two hits to make in 8-7.
Cribbs and junior second baseman Ethan Conley (Albuquerque, N.M.) drew back-to-back walks, advanced a base on a passed ball and Cribbs touched home courtesy of a wild pitch to tie the game 8-8. Knox tallied a run in their half of the inning in similar fashion but Beloit continued to put pressure on the Prairie Fire.
In the top of the sixth, Christine walked, stole second and then third. Back-to-back walks for Davis and Dutton loaded the bases and Conley came through with the game-tying RBI single.
The teams traded runs in the bottom of the seventh and top of the eighth respectively to make it 10-10. Beloit’s run was produced from a one-out RBI double off the bat of Dutton.
After the offenses were rolling through the majority of regulation, the defenses took over and neither team mustered a run through two extra innings. The Bucs’ defense held Knox at bay in the bottom of the tenth, getting out of a bases loaded jam with a strike out.
Knox scored the decisive runs in the bottom of the 12th courtesy of the long ball.
Three Bucs recorded multiple hits in the game including Davis, Cribbs and Conley. The three combined for five runs, four runs batted in and three walks in the game.
Seven Buccaneer hurlers took the mound in the extended game with junior righty David Harrison (El Paso, Texas) taking the loss in 4.1 innings of work.
The Buccaneers head to Florida to compete in the RussMatt Invitational March 10-17. Games will be played at complexes in Winterhaven and Auburndale.