UWA earn win over West Georgia in 15 innings

Published 10:33 am Monday, February 24, 2014

Mitch Holgate took a Chase Riemer curveball off the left field wall in the bottom of the 15th inning to drive in Daniel Bolte and give West Alabama a 3-2 Gulf South Conference baseball victory over West Georgia Sunday at Tartt Field.

West Alabama improved to 10-4 overall and 3-3 in the GSC by winning the longest game in UWA history. The Tigers had played 14 innings on three previous occasions, the latest being against Delta State in 2008. West Georgia dropped to 5-9 and 2-3.

“That was an outstanding baseball game, one of the best games I have ever been associated with,” UWA head coach Gary Rundles said. “We kept our intensity level throughout the game. We didn’t get too high with the highs and too low with the lows.”

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Holgate’s game-winner was his second hit of the game. Adam Chamblee and Jack Cockrum also had a pair of hits in an 11-hit UWA attack. Sumner McWhorter had three hits to lead an 11-hit Wolves attack. Shaq Jackson and Galen Smith each chipped in two hits for the Wolves.

“That was a huge win for us. Hopefully we can keep the energy level up going into the midweek games and when North Alabama comes in next weekend,” Holgate said. “That’s one of the longest games I have ever played in. It was like playing two games in a row without the break you get for doubleheaders.”

Bolte opened the Tiger 15th with a single and Jocobby Robinson moved him over with a sacrifice bunt. After West Georgia intentionally walked Tyler Richburg and Luigi Mendez to load the bases, Holgate delivered the decisive blow.

The eighth of eight pitchers used by West Alabama, Mat Betts (1-0) struck out UWG’s Jake Shirley with the bases loaded in the top of the 15th inning to pick up the win. Riemer (0-2) absorbed the loss.

Wolves’ starter Jamie Sexton pitched 12 innings, striking out 10 and scattering seven hits, but did not figure in the decision. UWA starter Fernando Gonzalez worked seven innings, allowing a run on five hits while striking out six.

“We had a lot of guys make big plays offensively, defensively and on the mound,” Rundles said. “They came up big in some tough spots.”

UWA opened he scoring in the fourth when Mendez led off with a single, advanced on a single by Chamblee and scored on a Tanner Rainey base hit. UWG answered with a single run in the sixth on three hits.

West Georgia threatened to go ahead in the 10th, but Chamblee nailed a speedy Shaq Jackson trying to tag and score from third on a fly ball to leftfield to keep the game tied at 1-1. After taking a 2-1 lead, the Wolves ran themselves out of a possible bigger 14th inning when the UWA threw behind Troy Brown and caught him for the third out at second base on a single by McWhorter.

West Alabama answered in the bottom of the 14th. Chamblee singled to open the frame and scored on a single by Trey Williamon.

Four games into a nine-game homestand, West Alabama is host to Montevallo on Wednesday. First pitch is 2 p.m.