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Bullpen Blows up, Manning?s Blast Saves Day in Topsy-Turvy Affair

Just when you thought this season couldn’t become more bizarre, Thursday night’s game in Battle Creek, Michigan can be summarized in one phrase: “Well… that’s baseball”. The offense staked the team out to a six run lead only to see it all disappear in one crazy inning before  Chris Manning (Valparaiso University) saved the day with a three-run shot in the 12th inning to give the Chinooks a 10-7 win.

The home run accounted for three of Manning’s six RBIs on the night to go along with four hits and two runs scored in the win.

Lost in all the offense was a great pitching performance by Donnie Hissa (University of Notre Dame) who bounced back nicely after his last start went south. The junior right-hander threw five shutout innings allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out five.

Ryan Krill (Michigan State University) scored the first run of the game after he led off the second inning with a triple.

Lakeshore added two more in the third on RBI singles from Aaron Machbitz (South Dakota State University) and John Norwood (Vanderbilt University) to make it 3-0.

Two more came across to score in the sixth on a two RBI double from Manning to make it 5-0 Lakeshore. 

With a five run lead and a mounting pitch count, Hissa was removed from the game in line for the victory. Lakeshore added another run for good measure before everything came unraveled in the seventh inning.

Greg Velasquez led off the inning with a home run beginning a streak of nine consecutive Bomber batters to reached base producing six runs.

Jerrick Suiter, (Texas Christian University) the third pitcher called upon in the inning, stopped the bleeding by getting a pair of ground ball outs including a double play to finally end the frame.

Despite the outburst, the game was still tied going into the tenth inning meaning a chance to rebound. A leadoff double by Norwood, a sacrifice bunt, and two walks loaded the bases to begin the frame, creating a golden scoring chance. Chris Manning in a bouncer to third too slowly to turn the double play allowing the go-ahead run the score to make it 7-6.

Battle Creek came back to tie it in the bottom half on a two out RBI single plating the speedy Cam Gibson. Mitchell Sewald (Louisiana State University) came back to get the final out of the inning with the winning run 90 feet away.

After a relatively uneventful eleventh inning, back to back walks put the lead runs on base with one out in the top of the twelfth. As is so often true in baseball, walks will come back to hurt anybody. Chris Manning made sure of that with a three-run bomb to put Lakeshore ahead for good.

Both Sawyer Polen (Kent State University) and Mike Papi (University of Virginia) were hit by a pitch in consecutive at-bats following the home run prompting both benches and bullpens to clear onto the baseball field. Nothing came of the verbal altercation and the teams were separated in short order.

The Chinooks and Bombers will conclude their three-game series Friday from CO Brown Stadium at 6:05 before Lakeshore heads off to Wisconsin Rapids for a home and home series before the All-Star break.