University of Southern Indiana Baseball senior rightfielder Manny Lopez hit a two-run home run to cap off a ninth inning rally to defeat Kentucky Wesleyan College, 6-5, Wednesday afternoon in Owensboro, Kentucky. The Screaming Eagles go to 16-12 overall, while the Panthers end the afternoon 15-5.
The ninth inning rally for the Eagles started with a walk to senior shortstop Kobe Stephens, who walked and scored on a double by junior centerfielder Bryce Krizan to make the score, 5-3. Krizan also advanced to third on error.
Krizan scored on a throwing error to get the Eagles within one, 5-4, when junior second baseman Ethan Hunter stole second after walking. This set the stage for Lopez.
Lopez hit a 0-2 pitch over the left field wall to give the Eagles the 6-5 lead and eventual winning margin. The home run was Lopez's team-best eighth of the season.
Kentucky Wesleyan took advantage of a pair of USI miscues in the third to score three times and built a 5-0 lead after four frames. The Eagles would cut into the deficit in the top of the fifth on a RBI-single by freshman first baseman Adam Wildeman and a sacrifice fly by junior third baseman Michael Conner to trail 5-2.
Senior right-hander Jordan Kelly made his first career start for the Eagles and was able to control the Panthers for two innings before they struck for a trio of tallies, aided by the USI errors in the third. Kelly left the game after allowing four runs, one earned, on seven hits and tied a career-high by striking out five batters.
Junior right-hander Bryce Stuteville picked up his first win as an Eagle in relief. Stuteville (1-0) threw four scoreless frames, allowing seven hits and striking out one to get the win.
USI senior right-hander Tyler Hagedorn posted a scoreless ninth to get his team-best fourth save of the season and tie an Eagle all-time record with his 86th career-appearance. The 86 appearances ties Trevor Leach, who set the mark between 2008 and 2011.
Hagedorn blanked the Panthers in the ninth on one hit, while striking out one.
Up Next for the Eagles:
The Eagles come home for the first in two weeks this weekend when they host Lewis University for a four-game series at the USI Baseball Field. Live coverage can be accessed through GoUSIEagles.com.
The Flyers are 14-10 overall, 12-8 in the GLVC, after splitting a four-game series with Lindenwood University last weekend. USI leads the all-time series with Lewis, 68-58, taking the last seven match-ups since 2018 and nine of the last 10 since 2017.