Springfield, MO - With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, RF Chris Swauger was hit by a pitch, forcing in the game-winning run and lifting the Springfield Cardinals to the 3-2 victory against the Tulsa Drillers before 3,267 fans at Hammons Field on Monday night.
Springfield (15-16, 48-51) got off to a powerful start, swinging in front in the bottom of the first inning against RHP Tim Gustafson. With two down and the bases clear, 3B Ruben Gotay hammered a solo home run over the right field fence, lifting the Cardinals into the early 1-0 lead.
LHP Tim Cooney struck out four through his first three scoreless frames, but the Drillers (13-18, 47-52) broke through in the top of the fourth. A solo home run by LF Kyle Parker led off the inning, tying the game right away. Tulsa then strung together four straight singles, including a bases-loaded RBI single by RF Tyler Kuhn. However, Cooney worked out the rest of the inning unscathed with a strikeout and a double play, only enabling the Drillers to claim a 2-1 advantage.
Springfield kept the margin narrow before evening the score in the bottom of the eighth. Leading off the frame, CF James Ramsey belted a solo home run over the left field wall, squaring the score at 2-2.
After LHP Lee Stoppelman (W, 1-1) kept the new tie intact in the top of the ninth, the Cardinals dealt the final blow in the bottom of the ninth. Facing LHP Isaiah Froneberger (L, 1-3), SS Jake Lemmerman led off the inning with a double ripped into the left field corner. Pinch hitter Vance Albitz advanced Lemmerman to third base with a sacrifice bunt, before LF Mike O'Neill worked a walk. After O'Neill took second base on defensive indifference, Froneberger induced a ground out to first base, not enabling Lemmerman to score. The Drillers then intentionally walked Gotay, loading the bases for RF Chris Swauger. However, Froneberger hit Swauger with a breaking ball, forcing in Lemmerman from third base for the 3-2 walk-off win for Springfield.