Purple takes Opening Game of Fall World Series

Curt Rindal grounded a bases loaded single to right field to break a 4-4 tie as the Purple Squad defeated the Gold 9-4 on Wednesday night in the opening game of the annual intrasquad Fall World Series at Husky Ballpark.

With one out Brent Lillibridge singled and advanced to third on a base hit by Taylor Johnson. Johnson then stole second, and after Matt Stevens fouled out to first baseman Kyle Larsen.

Gold starter Kyle Parker walked Matt Lane intentionally to load the bases and face the right handed hitting Rindal. However, after falling behind in the count two balls and one strike, Rindal grounded a single into right to put the Purple on top 6-4. Devin Warner then beat out a grounder to short for an infield single, scoring Lane and making it 7-4.

The Purple wasted no time getting to Parker in the bottom of the first as Lillibridge singled and Johnson hit a high fly ball that left fielder Josh Showers lost in the lights, allowing Johnson to reach safely and Lillibridge to advance to third. Lillibridge scored to make it 1-0 on a wild pitch by Parker, and Johnson scored on a single by Lane to make it 2-0.

The Purple Dawgs scored another pair of runs in the bottom of the third to take a 4-0 lead. Lillibridge led off with a double and scored on an error by Parker, as he dropped a throw by Larsen on a grounder into the hole between first and second by Johnson. On the error Johnson advanced to second and then moved to third on another wild pitch by Parker.

Lane then lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Johnson.

The Gold rallied to tie the game, scoring two runs in the top of the fourth and a pair in the fifth due mostly to some poor defense by the Purple.

In the fourth, Nick Batkoski singled and Larsen walked. Then Zach Clem singled to left center to score Batkoski. After Brett Kilborn struck out for the second out of the inning, Showers hit an apparent inning ending grounder to Matt Hague at third base but he threw it over Rindal's head for an error, allowing Larsen to score.

Then in the fifth, Ryan Anderson reached safely when Johnson dropped his blooper to right, advanced to third on a double by Nick Burnham, and scored when Hague made another errant throw on a ground ball by Kiel Lillibridge, with Burnham moving to third.

Batkoski then scored Burnham with a sacrifice fly to left center.

The Purple closed the scoring with two more runs in the sixth as Hague singled and Andy Lentz reached safely when Gold reliever Josh Conover failed to field his sacrifice for an error. Brent Lillibridge then walked to loaded the bases, and Johnson drove in Hague with a sacrifice fly to center. After Conover struck out Stevens, Lane drove in Lentz with an infield single to shortstop.

On the mound neither Purple starter Jordan Ponzoha nor Parker lasted the five innings required to record the victory. Ponzoha came away with a no-decision, going four and a third innings, allowing only four hits and four runs, with only one earned, while Parker suffered the loss, allowing six runs on eight hits in only four and two thirds innings.

Freshman Nick Hagadone earned the victory for the Purple with three and two thirds innings of terrific relief, holding the Gold scoreless and allowing only one hit, one walk and one hit batter.

Offensively the Purple roughed up Parker and Conover for 11 hits. Brent Lillibridge continued to display the form he showed in his stellar freshman and sophomore campaigns, finishing 3 for 4 with three runs scored. Johnson went 2 for 4 with three runs scored and an RBI and Lane had a perfect night, going 2 for 2 with a run scored and three RBI.

The Purple and Gold return to Husky Ballpark for Game 2 of the best-of-seven series on Thursday night at 7 PM.

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