Chad Balderman blasts walk-off homerun, lifts Limestone to win
GAFFNEY, S.C. -- Senior Chad Balderman blasted a walk-off homerun with one out in the bottom of the ninth to lift Limestone (20-20) baseball team to an 8-7 nonconference win against Southern Wesleyan (12-29) on Wednesday at Founders FCU Stadium.
Balderman crushed his 32nd career homerun and became only the third player in program history to record 150 career RBI after finishing the day 2-for-5 with a homerun, a double and two runs driven in. He ranks third on the team's all-time career RBI list and is fifth in career homeruns.
Senior KJ McAllister doubled and drove in a pair of runs while senior DH Avi Ahlzadeh collected an RBI double.
With the score deadlocked at 7-7 with one gone in the ninth, Balderman hammered a 0-1 pitch over the 30-foot wall in leftfield for the game winner. It was the second consecutive game in which the Saints won a game by a final of 8-7 following a walk-off hit.
Making their first appearance in Gaffney since the 1995 season, the Warriors slowly chipped away at a 5-1 second-inning deficit by scoring six of the next eight runs. SWU tallied three runs in the third followed by single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings.
In the third, Zack Oberlies smacked a two-run homerun -- his second of the day -- to trim the lead to 5-4. After Limestone tacked on a run in the bottom of the frame, Southern Wesleyan again made it a one-run game in the fourth following an RBI double off the top of the wall by Julio Lara.
Limestone extended its lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by senior Julian Bridges, but the Warriors tied the game at 7-all with a pair of unanswered runs in the next couple of stanzas.
SWU took a 1-0 lead in the second, but the Saints erupted for five runs after sending 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the frame. With one gone and runners on first and second, Ahlzadeh tied the game with a booming double before McAllister laced a two-run double over the leftfielder's head to make it 4-1.
Two batters later, Balderman doubled down the leftfield line to give Limestone a four-run lead.
Junior Caleb Shelley earned the win in relief, improving to 3-1 on the year after tossing a scoreless ninth. Freshman Kyle Cliff got the start for the Saints.
Tim O'Callaghan falls to 0-7 on the season despite allowing just one earned run on two hits and four walks during 5.2 innings out of the bullpen.
Oberlies led the Warriors with two homeruns and three RBIs. As a team, SWU had just one homerun entering the day.