Courtesy of Marian University
FOND DU LAC, Wis. -- The Marian University baseball team was part of the longest game ever played by a Northern Athletics Conference team in league history and it occurred in game two against non-conference foe Carthage College as the Red Men swept the Sabres thanks to a 17-inning, 4-3, game two victory at Herr-Baker Field this evening, April 17.
There were over 500 pitches thrown, 43 players used and 38 runners left on base in 4 hours and 43 minutes of action. That was just in game two of the doubleheader. The game-winning run came on a sacrifice fly by Joey Aiello, who went 0-for-8 in the game, but came through went it counted. The Red Men defeated the Sabres for the 11th straight time, also taking game one of the doubleheader, 7-4.
Carthage improves to 13-12 overall and won for the seventh time in their last eight tries. Meanwhile, the Sabres fell to 14-12 overall, 9-3 at home this season.
In game one, a five-run, third inning was the difference-maker for Carthage. The Red Men scored all five runs with two outs and the bases cleared off Marian starter Bryce Taylor.
Trailing 7-2, the Sabres got two runs back in the bottom of the third, but it wouldn't be enough to upend the Red Men. Jake Schaffhauser came on for the final four and a third innings and allowed just one hit to Carthage. Taylor (1-1) took the loss, while Mitch Lochen (2-0) took home the win with Jake Jewell earning the three-inning save, his first of the year.
Game two started with the Red Men and Sabres exchanging second inning runs to make it a 1-1 tie. Ryan Blise drove in the tally for the Sabres with a single to right field.
Carthage then grabbed the lead in the fourth, scoring off Marian starter Jeff Thomas with a Kyle Frye RBI single to center field. The Sabres would respond with a run in the fifth and another in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead.
Meanwhile, the Red Men tied it in the eighth, getting to Sabre left Brandon Winfield. With one out, Zach Kozlowski doubled to right. Two batters later, he would come around to score on an Andrew Arenson RBI single to right center. And that would be the last time Red Men would cross home plate for a while.
After uneventful ninth innings by both squads, the teams headed to extra innings. Both teams put a runner into scoring position in the tenth and 11th innings, but couldn't find the timely hit to drive them in. That became a recurring theme as the night went on, and on, and on.
Josh Gruenke made his second appearance on the mound for the Sabres this season and pitched very effectively. He came on to start the tenth and pitch an inning and a third scoreless, while scattering three hits. He got out of the 11th with a strikeout, stranding two runners and giving the Sabres momentum.
It worked, Marian loaded the bases with just one out in the frame, but it quickly turned bad. With Mitch Andrus standing on third, a botched suicide squeeze attempt hung him out to dry and he was thrown out between third and home. Matt Bromley then advanced to third base on a wild pitch later in the at-bat, but Blise went down swinging to end the inning.
In the 12th, the Sabres loaded them up again with one out, but Matt Schroeder and Jace Unrein were unable to drive home the winning run. Marian would put a runner in scoring position in each the 13th, 14th, 15th and 17th innings.
In the 16th inning, Marian's Phil Seis led off with a pinch-hit single to left field. Anthony Porcaro then used a sacrifice bunt, his third of the game, to advance him into scoring position. After a Will Martin walk, the Red Men made a switch on the mound.
Desperate for pitchers, Carthage brought in freshman Mike D'Angelo for his first career appearance and he made it one to remember.
The first batter he faced, he got Garrett Dorn to ground into the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
In the top of the 17th, the Red Men's Tyler Eickmeyer singled off Marian reliever Austin Massey with one out. He then stole second base to move into scoring position and advanced to third on a passed ball. Massey then got Brian Huntsinger to strike out swinging, but the ball took a bad bounce in the dirt and allowed Huntsinger to reach on a wild pitch, but not far enough for Eickmeyer to score from third.
The next batter, Aiello, who came into the at-bat 0-for-8 on the day, turned out to be the hero of the night. He lifted a high fly ball to right that scored Eickmeyer easily. The next batter would ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 17th, the Sabres gave themselves a chance. Trevor Nicholson reached on a one out walk and advanced to second on a passed ball. After a Bromley strikeout, T.J. McCoy caught a lucky break by reaching first on a ball that was mishandled by the second baseman.
With runners on the corners and two out, D'Angelo got Blise to strikeout swinging to end the marathon affair.
In all, the Red Men left 21 runners on base, while the Sabres left 17. Not to go unmentioned was Brett Barger's impressive performance out of the pen for the Sabres. He scattered just three hits in five and two-thirds scoreless innings before giving the ball to Massey at the start of the 17th.
The Sabres will be back in action this Saturday, April 21, taking on Benedictine University on the road in a 1 p.m. start. Marian will return home Sunday, Aprill 22, for a home doubleheader against Concordia Chicago, beginning at 1 p.m.