AUBURNDALE, Florida – Senior Ryan Newman drove in all four runs, including a game-tying three-run home run in the ninth inning but the MSOE baseball team fell victim to a walk-off home run in the bottom half of the inning in a 6-4 defeat at the hands of Alma Sunday afternoon in its season-opener.
The Raiders (0-1) trailed the Scots (1-0) 4-0 after six innings before pulling a run back in the seventh inning and tying the game in their last at-bat. Matt Minaudo hit a two-run home run with one out in the bottom half of the inning to provide the difference.
Newman collected two hits and walked in the game, driving in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Meanwhile, freshman Julian Sonn reached in all five plate appearances, with three hits and two walks, in his first game since suffering a season-ending knee injury last season.
Facing a four run deficit in the top of the seventh inning, MSOE drew three-straight walks to open the frame. Two batters later, Newman flew out to right field to drive in the first run of the 2018 season. Unfortunately, that was the only run to come from the rally.
The score remained 4-1 until the ninth inning when the Raiders rallied. A lead-off error was followed by a double two batters later to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Newman then pulled a home run to left field to tie the game at 4-4. Back-to-back walks followed before a ground out and fly out capped the scoring.
Alma opened the bottom half of the ninth inning with an attempt at small ball, drawing a lead-off walk and advancing the runner with a sacrifice bunt. Minaudo then stepped to the plate and homered to left-center to give the Scots the victory on Opening Day for both teams.
Sophomore Justin Celeski (0-1) absorbed the loss, despite what had been a strong relief outing. He'd tossed 2.1 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief entering the ninth, striking out three in the game. Senior Michael Boehmer got the start and worked 5.2 innings with four strikeouts. He retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced without allowing a hit before conceding a run in the fourth. Alma then struck for three more scores in the sixth inning.
The Raiders outhit the Scots, 9-7, and drew seven walks in the game. Three more hitters reached base twice in the game, as senior Max Kemp, junior Nick Gross, and sophomore Joe Gilpin each singled and walked in the game.
MSOE returns to the field Monday with two 7-inning games against St. Mary's (Minn.). First pitch of game one is at 9 a.m. central time.