Christian Correa (Nicholls State) celebrates a run early on in the Thunder Bay Border Cats 13-11 win over the Alexandria Blue Anchors at TBaytel Park. More celebrations would occur later as Robb Paller would crush a grand slam to win it. (Photo Courtesy of James Mirabelli Photography).
With one swing Thunder Bay (16-30, 2-9) Right Fielder Robb Paller (Columbia University) lifted the crowd and the proverbial weight as his walk-off grand slam home run gave the Border Cats a 13-11 victory over the Alexandria Blue Anchors (12-34, 3-9). The hit ended a nine game losing streak for the Border Cats and earned a series split.
The game was an offensive display with the teams combining for 31 hits. Paller was 1-3 with the grand slam and one additional RBI and run scored. His Columbia Tiger teammate, Jordan Serena was 3-6 with a double and four driven in. Nick Studer (Doane College) drove in two with a double and a pair of walks. Tyler Rolland (Southern Illinois) and Ty Blankmeyer (St. John's) each had two hit, one run nights with Rolland collecting RBI number 15.
For Alexandria, everyone in the order had a hit, with seven batters collecting RBI's or multiple hits. Rickey Sanchez and Cam Duzenack each had three hits. Duzenack and Left Fielder Jake Bergren also led with two runs driven in a piece.
Thunder Bay looked headed for a 10th straight loss. In the top of the 9th, Alexandria looked to have added insurance runs leading 9-8. Lukas Hermanson doubled, then Bergren tripled off of Border Cat reliever Ben Allison (Belhaven University). A wild pitch allowed Bergren to count.
However Paller had other ideas. Three straight singles and a walk made the game 11-9 with no one out against Blue Anchor Closer Kevin Walsh. Paller then took a 1-1 inside fastball and walloped a no doubter over the right-center fence and his teammates mobbed him in celebration.
Allison took the win (3-4) pitching the 8th and 9th, allowing the two runs on four hits, with a walk and a strikeout. Charles Thielmann (Kean University) made the start for the Cats going five, allowing eight hits and five runs, just one earned. He also walked one and struckout five.
Zach Muckenhirn made the start for Alexandria and went 4 2/3 innings. He allowed five runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Walsh (0-4) took the loss allowing five runs on five hits with two walks issued in one inning.
The Border Cats look to keep the good times going. They will have Monday night off, then head to Wisconsin to face the Eau Claire Express for a pair starting Tuesday night at 7:35 EDT.