FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In game two of the Fall World Series on Wednesday afternoon, Cullen Gassaway hit a tide-turning 3-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to guide the Red team to a 7-5 victory and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
After a 3-for-4 performance on Monday, Gassaway came to the dish with runners on second and third and the Red team down to its final out. The first baseman blasted the first pitch into the left field bullpen and the Red team’s dugout erupted.
“He went up there knowing what he was going to do,” said head coach Dave Van Horn. “He was looking for a first pitch fastball and if he got it, he was going to take a good swing at it and he did. He’s only had eight to ten at-bats (this fall) and they have been really broken up. He didn’t play all summer, he stayed here and lifted. He didn’t get all of that ball but he hit it out of the park because he is a lot stronger than he was last year.”
The Red team also had key performances from junior college transfer Austin Catron, who went 3-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, and game-winning pitcher Barrett Loseke, who threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts in relief. Hunter Hart pitched the ninth inning, allowing two hits and one run before stranding the tying run on third base to earn the save.
For the White team, Rick Nomura went 2-for-5 with a homerun and two RBI, while Chad Spanberger hit a towering two-run home run in the first inning. On the bump for the White team, Kacey Murphy, Blaine Knight and Doug Willey combined for 5.1 scoreless innings of relief from the third to the eighth inning.
Things got off to a bang early, as the Red team compiled a two-out rally and put three runs on the board in the top of the first. Jack Benninghoff grounded an RBI-single up the middle with runners on first and third, then Catron knocked in two with a line drive triple down the right field line.
But the White team responded with its own two-out rally in the first frame to knot the score at three. Clark Eagan got things started with a double, then Nomura knocked him in with a ground ball through the left side. One pitch later, Spanberger sent a moon shot over the right field foul pole and trotted around the bases for the second time in as many games.
“Those are the types of games I want to see out here at this time of era. They are all a little tired, have been going at it for a 35 or 40 days now and it’s good to see them compete like that,” said Van Horn.
The Fall World Series will continue on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 11 a.m. when Red will have a chance to sweep the best-of-five series.
Fall World Series Schedule
Game 1 – Red 5, White 4
Game 2 – Red 7, White 6
Game 3 – Saturday, Oct. 10 at 11 a.m.
Game 4* – Sunday, Oct. 11 at 3 p.m.
Game 5* – Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 2:05 p.m.
* if necessary
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