Berkner’s 11th Inning Walk-Off Gives Baseball 7-6 Win Over St. Thomas

Posted on April 24th, 2019 by

Matt Berkner (center) celebrates with teammates after his walk-off hit to beat St. Thomas. (photo by Kegan Couture, Gustavus Sports Information)

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SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus baseball team Wednesday earned its second walk-off victory in the past week, beating St. Thomas 7-6 in 11 innings for its seventh consecutive win. The game picked up in the top of the 11th after being suspended due to darkness on April 16.

The Gusties are now 19-9 overall and 10-4 in the MIAC, maintaining first place in the league standings with six games left in the regular season.

The Tommies started the 11th frame with a leadoff double and took a 6-5 lead after a single scored the base runner. Gustie reliever Brice Panning (Jr., Hamburg, Minn.) got out of inning with a fly out and a ground out.

Dexter Leer (Sr., Owatonna, Minn.) led off the bottom half with a sharp single to left field and Panning ensued with another hard-hit single to right. Carter Clemensen (So., Cologne, Minn.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners and Cole Pengilly (So., Le Sueur, Minn.) was intentionally walked to load the bases for Matt Berkner (Sr., Sleepy Eye, Minn.). On a 3-1 count, Berkner laced a hit over the center fielder’s head, which bounced over the fence for a walk-off ground-rule double to score Leer and Panning.

Panning picked up the mound victory after one inning of relief and led the team at the plate, batting 3-for-5 with three runs and a walk.

Gustavus next hosts Augsburg at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The first 10 innings…

After a scoreless first inning, St. Thomas took a 1-0 lead in the second on a solo home run. The Gusties answered in the third with a trio of runs on four hits. Clemensen and Pengilly hit consecutive sac flies for a 2-1 lead. Berkner ensued with a triple to the right field corner and scored on a double by Ethan Mocchi (So., Champlin, Minn.).

The Tommies made it a one-run game in the fourth and threatened to do more damage, but Christian Johnson (So., Buffalo, Minn.) got out of the jam with a couple strikeouts. St. Thomas ended Johnson’s day on the bump in the fifth after an RBI double to tie the game 3-3. Damon Rademacher (So., Princeton, Minn.) came in relief and got the next two batters to fly out to end the frame.

The visitors gained a 5-3 lead in the sixth on a sac fly and RBI single. Gustavus immediately answered in the bottom half as Nick Azar (Fy., Edina, Minn.) hit a solo homer over the left-center field fence, making the score 5-4.

St. Thomas carried a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth. Panning led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Clemensen. The second out came via a strikeout and Berkner followed with a towering pop fly to short for what should have ended the game, but the shortstop dropped the ball and Panning scored on the error to tie the game 5-5.

Neither team could score in the 10th and the game was suspended due to darkness.

Adam Stockwell (Sr., Apple Valley, Minn.) was the pitcher of record at the time of suspension, having tossed the last four innings, allowing no runs with two hits and three strikeouts.

 

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