Bloxom's Walk-off Gives Black Squad the Series

MANHATTAN, Kan. Sophomore Justin Bloxom crushed an eighth-inning walk-off home run down the right-field line to drive in three runs and give the Black squad an 11-8 win in game three of the 2007 K-State Fall World Series Tuesday at Tointon Stadium. The Black squad, who recorded its second-consecutive extra-inning victory, is now assured of a series win as it has taken the first three games of the five-game series.

The bottom of the eighth started with a Chris Reese single up the middle and Brett Scott followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Reese to third. An intentional walk to Drew Biery set up the game’s dramatic finish as Bloxom pulled a 2-2 pitch that cleared the right-field wall and left the park just inside of the foul pole for his second home run of the game and his third, fourth and fifth RBIs of the afternoon.

Black pitcher A.J. Morris (1-0) recorded the win by giving up just one hit and striking out one in the top of the eighth. Bloxom led all batters by going 2-for-3 with five RBIs and three runs scored. Byron Wiley and Bloxom each hit two homers, and Wiley led the Purple by going 3-for-5 with three RBIs, while scoring three runs of his own. Jurica was 3-for-3 for the Purple squad with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Just as they did in the first two games of the series, the Black squad punched across the first runs of the game, plating five on just three hits in the first frame off of Purple’s starter Ben Hornbeck. Tyler Ruch led off the game with a double to left centerfield and was one of three earned runs given up by Hornbeck in the first inning. Drew Biery and Bloxom also scored in the inning, as well as Jason King and Adam Muenster, who each drove in one run.

However, Hornbeck settled down to only allow three hits over the next three innings-plus to give Purple a chance to get back into the game.

Purple scored its first two runs of the evening in the second inning as Purple’s freshman Carter Jurica singled up the middle and advanced to second on a passed ball. Following a Jordan Cruz walk and a Cameron Welch sacrifice bunt, Matt Lowry grounded out to third base, which scored Jurica, and Dane Yelovich singled to right to score Cruz and bring the Purple squad within three at 5-2.

Following scoreless third and fourth innings, both teams pushed across two runs in the fifth, each on two-RBI home runs. In the top half of the inning, Jurica sent a 1-0 pitch over the left centerfield wall, the first of five home runs by both squads. In the bottom half of the fifth, Bloxom hit a two-RBI homer of his own to put the Black squad ahead by three at 7-4.

Purple answered by putting up three in the top of the sixth to even things up at seven apiece. Yelovich was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and scored on Byron Wiley’s two-RBI home run to straightaway centerfield. Nate Tenbrink was then hit by a pitch, stole second base, and then moved to third on a wild pitch. He scored when Cameron Welch reached on an error by King.

After putting away the Black squad in the bottom half of the sixth, Purple pulled ahead 8-7 going into seventh when Wiley hit his second blast over the centerfield wall.

The Black squad received two free passes to start the seventh by walking Biery and hitting Bloxom, Purple’s fifth hit batsman of the game. Biery moved from second to third on King’s fly out to centerfield and scored on a bases-loaded walk by Purple hurler Stephen Boidock to send the game into extras.

Game four of the 2007 K-State Fall World Series is set for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch on Wednesday. Prior to Wednesday’s game, a limited supply of free candy will be handed out to those in attendance at 6 p.m. to celebrate Halloween. The fifth and final game of the series is set for Friday at 4 p.m. Both games are open to the public and admission is free.