Riverside rallies past St. Al in 7th

Published 12:12 am Sunday, March 11, 2012

The best pitched game in almost two years for St. Aloysius went horribly wrong in the seventh inning.

Riverside rallied for nine runs in the seventh, thanks to seven walks, three hits and one hit batter. The Bulldogs held on for an 11-8 win Saturday afternoon at Bazinsky Field.

Senior Josh Eargle had thrown a gem for the Flashes (1-6) through six innings.

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Riverside (4-3) scored two unearned runs in the first inning, then Eargle dominated them through the next five. He retired 12 straight batters at one point and allowed just one hit until the seventh inning.

Eargle had a three-run lead going into the top of the seventh when things fell apart.

“I hate for him to lose it like that,” St. Al coach Derrik Boland said. “It’s a cruel game. It’s baseball. Things happen like that.”

St. Al’s offense managed to strike for five runs in the bottom of the fourth to grab the lead. Lane Hynum’s squeeze bunt scored the tying run. It was followed by an RBI groundout from Andrew Collins, and a single to right by Matthew Foley. Foley later scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-2.

It stood that way until the seventh. Eargle gave up three walks in between a fly out to left to load the bases. Boland pulled him and brought in eighth-grader Will Pierce.

“He (Eargle) was tired. He had walked three in the inning and I’ve got to get him out,” Boland said.

Pierce walked in a run and then allowed a tying, two-run double to Perry Ramsey. Troy Spencer was intentionally walked to create a force, but that was foiled when Cory Moxley smashed a double into left to score Ramsey and Spencer for a 7-5 lead.

Riverside wasn’t done. Four more runs came against St. Al’s third pitcher of the inning, Matt Mims.

St. Al loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh and scored three runs, but never got the tying run to the plate. After Neal Ricks hit a sacrifice fly to center to make it 11-8, Riverside reliever Connor Shephard retired the next two batters to nail down the save.

Shephard was the third pitcher used in the inning by Riverside coach Boo Ellis.

“Our defense has struggled this season and it was why we fell behind again today,” Ellis said. “But, we stepped forward and came through with a big inning.”

Pierce had two hits and scored two runs to lead St. Al. Ricks had two RBIs.

Moxley had two hits and three RBIs to lead Riverside.

St. Al will play in the Lake Invitational on Monday and Tuesday in Meridian. St. Al will play Morton and Enterprise-Clarke on Monday afternoon, then Lake and Puckett on Wednesday.