ASHLAND, Va. - In the 18th game of the 2018 season, senior Rick Spiers (South Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) beat out an infield single to drive in the final run in a four-run ninth as the eighth-ranked Randolph-Macon baseball team rallied to tie York (Pa.) 18-18 Thursday afternoon on Hugh Stephens Field at Estes Park.
The game between the Yellow Jackets (14-3-1) and the Spartans (8-6-1) was called after nine innings due to darkness.
York put up seven in the top of the eighth to take an 18-13 lead. A home run by senior Cole Migliorini (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) in the bottom of the eighth made it a four-run contest.
After the Spartans were retired in order in the top of the ninth by senior Cullen Moore (Stafford, Va./North Stafford), the Yellow Jackets went to work in the bottom of the frame. Junior Jeff Butler (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) had a leadoff single and walks to sophomore Mike Nickles (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) and junior pinch-hitter Grant Huckestein (Manassas, Va./Woodbridge) loaded the bases with no outs. With one away, sophomore Ryan Duphorn (Erial, N.J./Paul VI) walked to force in Butler. Sophomore Cole Grinde (Woodford, Va./Caroline) had a pinch-hit single to plate Nickles, making it a two-run contest. Migliorini bounced out to first, driving in Huckestein to make it 18-17. Spiers hit a ball deep to short and beat the throw to first, driving home Duphorn with the tying run. A flyout to left would end the contest with the potential winning run stranded at third.
R-MC started the scoring in the bottom of the first. Duphorn led off with a single and moved to third on a hit-and-run single through the right side by senior Devin Strickler (York, Pa./Eastern York). Duphorn scored on a base hit by Migliorini and Strickler came home when Spiers reached on an error as the Yellow Jackets took an early 2-0 advantage.
After York tallied a run in the top of the second, R-MC answered in the bottom of the frame. Sophomore Mitch Mendler (McLean, Va./Flint Hill) drew a one-out walk, advanced to second on a base hit by Duphorn and came home on a double by Migliorini to give the Yellow Jackets a 3-1 lead.
The Spartans put up three in the third and two in the fourth to take a 6-3 advantage before R-MC responded with six in the bottom of the fourth. Duphorn drew a leadoff walk and went to second on a one-out base hit by Migliorini. Spiers crushed a triple to left center to make it a 6-5 game. A single to right by Tuzzolo plated Spiers with the tying run. Nickles had a two-out RBI double and scored on an error to make it 8-6. Sophomore Zach Evans (Fort Mill, S.C./Seneca) walked and scored on a base hit by Duphorn to give the Yellow Jackets a 9-6 advantage.
Migliorini walked and came home on a Spiers sacrifice fly in the fifth as the lead grew to 10-6.
York scored four in the sixth to tie it at 10-10 and added a run in the seventh to go ahead 11-10.
In the bottom of the seventh, Migliorini had a leadoff single and moved to third on a base hit by Spiers. A double by Tuzzolo drove in both runners, giving R-MC a 12-11 edge. A single by Nickles drove in Tuzzolo as the home team took a 13-11 advantage.
Spiers went 3 for 6 with two runs and five RBI, while Migliorini went 5 for 6 with four runs and four RBI. He was a triple short of the cycle. Tuzzolo had two hits, two runs and three RBI. Duphorn was 3 for 5 with two walks, three runs and two RBI. Nickles went 2 for 4 with two walks, two runs and two RBI.
Randolph-Macon returns to conference action on Saturday, March 31 with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Washington and Lee.