Cary-Grove pulls it out in 7th
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Neither team's seventh-inning lead was safe in Friday's Fox Valley Conference Valley Division baseball game between Jacobs and host Cary-Grove.
Jacobs erased a 5-1 deficit in the top of the seventh with a 5 run-outburst, capped by slugger Connor Conzelman's go-ahead grand slam, his second homer of the game and seventh of the season.
Refusing to be upstaged on their home field, the Trojans rallied for 2 runs in the bottom of the seventh to win 7-6. Leadoff man Patrick Serowka reached base on Jacobs' sixth error of the game, stole second base with no outs and scored the tying run on catcher Matt Ewert's one-out double to the gap in right center.
Cary-Grove No. 3 hitter Zach Marszal then slapped a 1-1 changeup the opposite way to right field to drive in courtesy runner Matt Sutherland for the walkoff win.
"It's really a big thing that we can bounce back like that after losing the lead on such a big hit," Marszal said. "We just never lost confidence. Right away guys got on ahead of me to start the inning and we just sealed the deal."
Cary-Grove (13-4, 7-2) starting pitcher Brandon McCumber was handed a 5-1 lead, thanks to a 5-run fifth inning. Senior Ryan Dundon ignited that rally by lining a 2-run single to center field. Serowka followed with a sharp, run-scoring single to right field to make it 3-1. Jacobs (13-5, 5-3) yielded 2 more runs in the inning via 2 errors.
The Golden Eagles roared back in the seventh, when they notched 4 of their 13 hits. Ben Murray drew Jacobs within 5-2 on a double to the center-field wall and Greg Sidor was hit by a pitch from relief pitcher Andrew Splitt to load the bases for Conzelman, who launched a first-pitch fastball from Splitt over the fence in left center, flipping the lead with one mighty swing.
"Honestly, I was expecting him to throw me a curveball because after I hit that first home run on the fastball, my next at-bat I saw nothing but deuces," Conzelman said.
"It was definitely a stab to the heart," Ewert said of the grand slam. "In the last inning we kept our heads up. We have good hitters on this team. We knew we could string a few hits and maybe score some runs."
Pitching for the first time in two weeks, Jacobs closer Jake Jemmi (1-1) tried to record his second save but instead absorbed the loss. Splitt (2-0) posted the victory despite giving up the grand slam.
"We didn't quit, and that's all you can ask," said Jacobs coach Jamie Murray, whose team outhit Cary-Grove 13-5. "We didn't roll over when it was 5-1 and pack it in. That's not the type of team we are. We knew coming in it would be a dogfight. Everything is a learning experience. Our goal is just to continue to get better and get ready for the end of the year."
The 2-game series concludes at Jacobs today at 10 a.m.
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