By Dante Quazzo
In in a pitcher’s duel, anything an offense can muster can prove to be the difference.
Washington and Oakland Tech experienced that first hand in an extra-inning thriller Wednesday afternoon at San Francisco State.
The game was a roller-coaster ride the whole way, but Washington came through late by scoring a run on a walk-off wild pitch to win 4-3 in the eighth inning to take a 1-0 series lead in the Transbay Championship.
“It’s always nice to win the first game of a series, and it gives us some breathing room,” said Washington head coach Rob Fung.
Washington got its first two baserunners on in the eighth inning on a hit batter and a walk, and successfully executed a double steal to put both runners in scoring position. With Chris Hau batting, the ball got past the Oakland Tech catcher and Alex Kozakiewicz raced home from third to score the winning run.
Though the game concluded in the eighth, the real action occurred in the sixth and seventh innings.
Up until the bottom of the sixth, Hau and Oakland Tech’s Matt Cornell were engaged in a classic pitcher’s duel, with the Bulldogs on top 1-0.
“I was just pitching one pitch at a time,” Hau said. “I just wanted to do all the little things I was taught.”
But in the bottom of the sixth, Washington broke out for three runs on four singles to take a 3-1 lead into the top of the seventh.
“Chris has had a great season,” Fung said. “He battled [and Cornell] was just as good. They went pitch for pitch, and I’m glad we were able to score a few runs for him.”
After two quick outs, Hau had the Bulldogs down to their last strike in the seventh, but Oakland Tech rallied with three consecutive singles, an intentional walk, and another single to tie the game late.
“We know that we’re capable of doing that at any time,” said Oakland Tech head coach Eric Clayton. “We never go down. We never go down until it’s over, and that was indicative of that inning.”
Despite tough loss, Oakland Tech can take away some positives. Matt Cornell went seven innings and only gave up three runs, while also having a standout day at the plate. Cornell also finished 2-for-3 with an intentional walk, a double and a run scored.
“The only thing that we didn’t do was early in the game take advantage of our opportunities,” Clayton said. “We left eleven runners on, so that speaks for itself. We will make sure to take advantage of our opportunities Friday [in Game 2].”
OT – Evan Williams doubles, Matt Cornell scores
W – Dane Vande Guchte scores on a throwing error
W – Paul Duchene singles, Javon Phillips scores
W – Shaquan Robinson singles, Duchene scores
OT – James Harris singles, Kyle Kelly scores
OT – Jake Southworth singles, Francis Griffin scores
W – Alex Kozakiewicz scores on a wild pitch
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