TUCSON, Ariz. -- For the second time in less than a week, No. 13 Cal Lutheran earned a walk-off win as the Kingsmen came from behind to defeat Wisconsin-La Crosse 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth on Friday. After Davey Casciola had a two-out RBI single to tie the game the at 3-3 in the eighth inning, Chris Whitmer doubled to lead-off the bottom of the ninth and then Nicho DellaValle lifted the game-winning sacrifice fly into right field and gave CLU its third win of the Tucson Tournament.
Though he didn’t pick up the win, CLU starting pitcher Scott Peters gave the Kingsmen their third outstanding outing in as many games.He went 8.2 innings, allowing just three runs on eight hits to go along with three strikeouts.
Peters’ counterpart Ben Cjeka was nearly as brilliant for UW-La Crosse, pitching 8.0 innings and striking out seven.
Tied at 2-2 in the top of the eighth inning, Peters would get the first out before Taylor Kohlwey tripled down the right field line. During the next at bat and with the Cal Lutheran infield in, Bryce Barness hit a grounder that CLU second baseman Kyle Sanchez was able to dive and stop but Kohlwey had already broke from home and was able to score, putting UW-La Crosse up 3-2.
In the bottom of the eighth, Cjeka got two quick groundball outs before Collin Crowl gave CLU new life when he notched his first triple of the season. Following Crowl, Casciola worked a full-count before sending a base hit into left field to tie the game at 3-3.
Peters would get the lead-off out to start the top of the ninth but Travis Buxton-Vergsteen reached after lifting a single into right field. UW-La Crosse then tried to bunt the runner over but Peters fielded a bunt, turned and threw out Buxton-Vergsteeen at second to get CLU to two outs. Joel Zyhowski singled in the next at-bat however and forced CLU to go to the bullpen. Cal Lutheran brought on closer Aaron Roth who gave up a base hit to load the bases but then struck out Josh Rowles looking to end the threat.
Whitmer gave CLU the winning run in scoring position after lining a shot down the right field line. Craig Jacobson came on to pinch run and advanced to third after a Justin Cana ground out. On 2-2 count, DellaValle was able to send a liner to the right fielder who tried to get a tagging Jacobson but the throw wasn’t in time, giving CLU the win.
Roth (2-0) earned the win while Joe Miller suffered the loss after entering in the ninth.
Casciola, DellaValle and Whitmer had two hits each for the Kingsmen and Cana and Sanchez also notched an RBI.