PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Junior Andrew Hunton hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Johnson & Wales University baseball team a thrilling 9-8 victory against Scranton at the Ripken Experience on Thursday afternoon. The Wildcats tallied five runs in the bottom of the ninth to take home the victory.
Johnson & Wales sophomore Carlos Sanabria (Pawtucket, R.I.) went 1-for-5 with three RBI while fellow sophomore Lou Umberto (Cranston, R.I.) went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored in the victory for the Wildcats. Senior James Harlow (Bristol, Conn.) recorded his first win of the season with one and a third innings of relief.
Junior Brian Healy (Middletown, N.J.) went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs and two RBI in the loss for Scranton while sophomore Anthony Simone (Wayne, N.J.) and freshman Anthony Caladie (Mountain Top, Pa.) each had two hits for the Royals. Senior Michael Villegas (Hillsborough, N.J.) allowed one unearned run on one hit with two walks while facing four batters in the ninth.
The game was tied 1-1 after two innings of play before Scranton pushed three across the plate, including a run scoring single from Healy in the top of the third. The Royals added a pair of runs in the top of the sixth and took the 6-1 advantage on an RBI single by senior Michael Umerich (Clarks Summit, Pa.).
Scranton notched a run in the eighth, but Johnson & Wales responded with a two run single by Umberto cut the lead to 7-4. A solo home run by Healy in the top of the ninth gave the Royals the four run lead again at 8-4. The Wildcats than rallied in the bottom of the frame after a rain delay for the remarkable come from behind victory. Junior Jordan Pilarski (Garnet Valley, Pa.) reached on a fielder’s choice and came around to score on a Scranton miscue to cut the lead to 8-5. Back-to-back RBI walks and another Scranton error enabled the Wildcats to knot the game 8-8 and set the stage for Hunton’s heroics. Sophomore Chris Baldwin (Pawtucket, R.I.), who entered the game as a pinch runner earlier in the inning, crossed the plate on Hunton’s RBI single to give JWU the 9-8 victory.
With the victory Johnson & Wales is now 2-1 for the year while Scranton is 0-1 on the season. The two teams will meet again on Friday, March 6th at 3:00 p.m.