GOSHEN, Ind. – A thrilling final inning saw a lead slip away from the Goshen College baseball before they ultimately rallied for a Mid-Central College Conference split with Mount Vernon Nazarene University Thursday evening.
The visitors took the opener behind an outstanding pitching effort by Mike Kochheiser. The sophomore didn't strike out a single batter, but allowed only five hits in firing a complete-game shutout.
Meanwhile, the Cougar offense rallied for three runs in the third and two more in the fifth. Behind a 3-for-3 effort by Clint Spencer and two hits each from Josh Roberts and Jordan Doherty, the visitors took game one 6-0.
In the nightcap, the Maple Leafs were the ones who received a strong start on the mound. Redshirt freshman Matt Austin gave up just three hits and one earned run in five and one-thirds innings of work.
The Goshen offense also got off to a much better start than in the opener. A Benjamin Kelly RBI single started the scoring in the second, while a trio of run-scoring hits (Garrett Cannizzo, Zach Vanlandingham, and CJ Talley) increased the scoreline to 4-0 after three innings.
Mount Vernon closed the gap with single tallies in the fourth and fifth, but the real excitement did not come until the seventh.
Two singles and a hit batter loaded the bases for the Cougars. A sacrifice fly, two Goshen errors, and two RBI singles quickly turned a 4-2 deficit into a 6-4 lead for Mount Vernon, who had suddenly captured all the game's momentum.
As quickly as the game turned, it shifted back in the Leafs favor. Cannizzo reached on an error, Vanlandingham singled to right, and Corey Johnson walked to load the bases. Another Cougar error allowed two runs to score tying the game at six-all. An intentional walk and two pitches later, sophomore Josh Schlabach ripped a single to center field scoring Johnson for the game winner.
Vanlandingham was 3-for-3 with two runs scored, while Jose Andrade, Talley, and Schlabach each had two hits.
The four-game series continues in Ohio on Saturday. The two clubs are scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.