Norse rally in seventh inning to take game three victory


Trey Ganns is hitting .348 on the season with 14 doubles and 11 home runs.

The NKU baseball team rallied late in the game to take home a 7-2 victory over Wright State. Wright State falls to 29-13 and 15-4 in conference while the Norse improve to 16-27 and 9-10 in conference play.

“This one of the most complete team wins,” right fielder TJ Alas said. “The lineup did a tremendous job. We had a lot of guys to a bunch of things at the plate.”

As of now, the Norse still claim the three seed in the Horizon League tournament. Fourth place Oakland is 7-11 and will play Milwaukee at 5:30 p.m. today. 

The Norse struck first in the bottom of the third inning, when Alas doubled to center field to score Jake Richmond who singled earlier in the inning.

Ganns made his second straight quality start in this game, lasting 6.0 innings and allowing just three hits and two runs. His fastball command was the difference in this start, according to Ganns. He was able to keep the ball low and work the inside and outside parts of the plate.

“Just keeping them guessing, even when I am throwing fastball. You never really know how much location affects it until you start throwing it well,” Ganns said.

His one major mistake was in the sixth inning, when he hung a pitch to Gabe Snyder who sent it over the left center field fence to tie the game at 1-1.

Ganns allowed a lead off single to Zach Weatherford in the seventh inning and pitching coach Dizzy Peyton decided it was time to go to the bullpen and send Cameron Ross to the mound.

“His (Ganns) pitch count was getting high and they were squaring up some balls on him. As soon as he got on first base I wanted to make the change,” Peyton said. “I thought they would be bunting. Cam is really good at handling the bunt. They didn’t bunt and the guy ended up on third anyway.”

On the first pitch from Ross, Weatherford stole second and the catcher Will Haueter’s throw sailed over the head of Mercurio to allow the runner to advance to third.  

Kevin Whatley then doubled to score Weatherford to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead. 

In the bottom of the seventh inning, NKU tied the game after a single by Conor Ledger scored Dominic Mercurio to tie the game at 2-2.

That effectively ended Collins day, who pitched 6.1 innings and allowed seven hits and allowed four runs on the day. Derek Hendrixson entered the game for the Raiders with a 1.03 ERA.

The Norse then took the lead, when Brad Bohlen executed a safety squeeze that scored Chad Roberts from third base. Bohlen had showed bunt and fouled off the pitch prior, the Norse decided to try it twice in a row.

“That was all Brad Gschwind. He just has confidence in our guys to get the job done,” Peyton said.

The Norse then broke the game open against Hendrixson, when Richmond singled to score Ledger and Bohlen. Alas then hit his 11th home run of the season to score Richmond and give NKU a 7-2 lead.

“Definitely got good pitches to hit and it just felt good to contribute,” Alas said. “Our coaching staff did a really good job of preparing the scouting reports. They had some tendency’s that we exploited and took advantage.” 

Cameron Ross would hold the Raiders to just two hits and would not give up a run of his own to earn his third win of the season.

Alas finished 2-4 at the plate with three RBI and extended his streak of reaching base to 33 games.

“I just look forward to contribute everyday with these guys and go out there and compete,” Alas said. “I think their are a lot of special things on the horizon for us and hopefully we can keep it going.”

Richmond finished 2-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Mike Moffatt went 2-4 as well and finished the series batting .500 with six hits in 12 at-bats. 

The Norse will not play until Friday of next week, when they will travel to Dayton to face Wright State for a Friday double header. With the win today, Alas thinks it will help build confidence for next week’s matchup.

“It’s a big confidence booster knowing we can go toe to toe with a team that’s historically the best in the conference,” Alas said. “I think we showed last week against UIC too that we can compete with anyone.”

Ganns hopes the energy the team showed in this win will translate into next weekend.

“The dugout was loud the whole game and we just kept fighting even when we got down 2-1. We knew we were going to win the game,” Ganns said. “Energy is a big thing because once you get the momentum, all the bats start coming together and next thing you know you can put three, four runs in one inning.”

Todd Asalon will return from his suspension in the second game of the double header. The double header starts at 1 p.m. and you can catch the broadcast on ESPN3.