TUCSON, Ariz. — Drive home safely! Junior Chris Spohr's walk-off single in the 11th inning sent the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen to bed with the 4-3 victory over the Piedmont Lions, Saturday night, under the lights of Kino Stadium. The four-hour game moves the Kingsmen to a perfect 3-0 in the Cactus Classic and start to the season.
The Kingsmen came out of the gates roaring with junior Cortez Espinoza opening the contest with a lead-off triple. Next batter up, sophomore Tanner Wright knocked one out to the left fielder for the sacrifice fly and putting Cal Lutheran on the board early 1-0.
However, Piedmont responded later in the fourth inning, taking advantage of back-to-back wild pitches from Scott Roberts to put Andrew Burden in scoring position. Tyler Burdette followed with a single to bring in the first run, and four batters later, Wes Snyder tripled to bring in two more runs.
That would be all Roberts allowed, though, leaving the game with a final line of three earned runs on six hits with two walks and one strikeout in five innings of work. Even more importantly, his relief staff stepped up to pitch seven more shutout innings, bringing the total to 19 scoreless innings from the bullpen to start the year.
Moving into free-baseball territory, the Kingsmen found just what they needed to rally in the 11th inning. Junior Ryan Probst got on base after being hit by a pitch and swiftly stole second to put himself in scoring position. Then finally, four hours after the first pitch, Spohr came in clutch with the walk-off single to bring Probst home for the 4-3 victory.
Also taking home the win, senior closer Christian Slattery pitched 1.2 perfect innings and punched out three batters to close the game for the Kingsmen.
Celebrations were short, however, as Cal Lutheran returns to the field tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. MST for their fourth and final game of the Cactus Classic against the George Fox Bruins.
Box Score: CLU 4, PDMT 3
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director