CATS NICK SECOND HALF OPENER
Border Cats celebrate victory at Knute Nelson, topping the Blue Anchors 5-4.
The Thunder Bay Border Cats (1-0, 15-21 Overall) began their chase for a playoff spot on the right foot, winning 5-4 over the Alexandria Blue Anchors (0-1, 9-26) at Knute Nelson Memorial Park in Minnesota. The Cats needed a 5-run 6th to secure victory. Alexandria had the tying run in scoring position to end the game.
Cats starter Gunnar Kay (Dallas Baptist) earned the victory with his five inning start. He allowed three runs, two earned, spreading seven hits, while striking out two to bump his record to 2-1. Ben Allison (Belhaven University) kept the slim lead pitching a solid three shutout innings out of the bullpen allowing one hit, walking one and striking out a pair of Blue Anchors. Tyler Lequire (Pfeiffer University) pitched himself into a jam in the 9th with walks. But Lequire would earn the save as he bore down and got Alexandria Centrefielder Nehwon Norkeh (2-5 on the night) to ground out to end the game.
Alexandria would extend a 1-0 1st inning lead in the 5th. After a leadoff triple by Craig Nennig, Jordan Lee would cash him in on a sac fly. The aforementioned Norkeh would single in Kris Goodman to give the Blue Anchors a 3-run lead after five.
The top of the sixth would prove all the offense the Cats needed. Sparked by two-hit nights from the Columbia University twosome of Jordan Serena and Robb Paller the Cats would score five times in the inning. With the bases loaded and Thunder Bay trailing 3-2, Paller would chase Blue Anchor reliever Austin Smith as he singled to score Ty Blankmeyer (St. John's University) and Tyler Rolland (Southern Illinois University). Sal Taormina (Kean University) would hit a sac fly to right to cap the scoring for the Cats, plating Nick Studer (Doane College).
Allison took care of business in the 6th, 7th and 8th, facing just two over the minimum, before the Blue Anchors threatened in the 9th. Lequire walked a couple on close pitches before Lee popped in for second RBI on a fielder's choice, a broken double play. Norkeh came to the plate but grounded out to end the threat.
The Blue Anchors and Border Cats finish the set as they do battle again at Knute Nelson on Thursday Night. First pitch is slated for 7:35 EDT. A pair of starters look for their first win on the hill as Zach Speer (0-1 4.69, Trinity University) goes for the Border Cats against Jason Zgardowski (0-5 5.09).