Walk Off Hit By Pitch Earns Larks Series Opening Win
Tyler Steele’s second stellar performance gives Larks platform to record their third walk off win of the year
BISMARCK, ND – The new team in the Northwoods League from Bismarck has a new nickname. That new is nickname is the Cardiac Larks.
For the third time on the 2017 season and for the second time in the last four days, the Bismarck Larks won due to a walk off. The Larks defeated the Mankato MoonDogs in their first ever meeting by the final score of 2-1.
The first four and a half innings were highlighted by the 12 total strikeouts between the two starting pitchers.
Collin Floyd for the MoonDogs (10-11) struck out six batters in his first four innings of work leaving a total of four Larks baserunners in scoring position.
Tyler Steele came out for the Larks (11-12) striking out six batters through his first five innings of work doubling his season high of three strikeouts back on June 9th against Eau Claire. Steele allowed just two hits and one walk throughout these first five innings dealing with little to no stress innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Larks would throw the first punch with Ryan Anderson’s (UC Davis) RBI single into left field scoring Scooter Bynum. The one run is all the Larks would get as Floyd induced Cooper Coldiron to ground into inning ending 5-4-3 double play. Floyd ended up going five and two-thirds innings with just the one earned run.
The way Steele was throwing the ball on this Wednesday evening at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark the 1-0 lead seemed like more than enough for the lefty from Kingsburg, CA.
Steele would keep the one run advantage in tact retiring the last six batters he faced finishing the night on seven innings pitched and just two hits allowed. He struck out seven MoonDogs hitters and issued his only walk in his last 15 innings of work.
Although the 1-0 lead seemed to loom much larger due to Steele’s dominance, the reality is that the MoonDogs needed just one run to tie up the game.
The MoonDogs got their chance in the top of the eighth inning when Jeff Lindgren entered in from the Larks bullpen.
With runners on first and third and one out, Jake Shepski tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI fielder’s choice as the Larks tried to turn a double play but weren’t able to convert. This was the first run Lindgren gave up in his eight total appearances as a Lark.
After the Larks failed to score in the bottom of the eighth Lindgren came back out for his second inning. The MoonDogs made Lindgren work in top of the ninth, but Lindgren came out on top striking out Nick Vaage with the go-ahead run standing on second base.
This is where the Larks became the Cardiac Larks.
Bynum led off the inning shooting a single into right field off MoonDogs reliever Matt Young for Bynum's sixth hit in his last two games. The MoonDogs then went to their third pitcher of the night calling upon Jake Gerber to try to send the game into extra innings.
After a strikeout of Mitch Gallagher, Gerber would hit Austin Paschke on a 1-2 count right on the kneecap to award him both a free pass and also a bruise for tomorrow.
Anderson provided a productive at-bat grounding out on a ball deep into the 5-6 hole for the second out of the inning. The grounder moved Bynum up to third and the pinch runner Noah Sadler up to second.
The MoonDogs opted to intentionally walk Coldiron to present themselves with a force out at any base.
The force play wouldn’t matter though.
It was the wildness of Gerber that came back to haunt the MoonDogs and grant the Larks the series opening victory.
In a 3-1 count with Newt Johnson up at the plate, Gerber ran a fastball too tight hitting Johnson on the midsection for the rare walk off hit by pitch.
The Larks will look to build off of the 2-1 victory as they take on the MoonDogs for the second game out of a two and two, home and away split.
Micah Beyer will take the ball tomorrow for the final game of the current six game homestand with the first pitch set for 7:05pm.
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The Bismarck Larks are apart of the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 170 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play