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Knights persevere, knock off Springfield 4-3 in 11 innings

Saturday, June 22, Corvallis, Ore. – Corvallis survived a late-inning predicament and edged Springfield 4-3 in an 11-inning West Coast League thriller before a Goss Stadium crowd of 1,744.

The Knights blew a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning but used three walks and a fielder’s choice to walk off the Drifters. Springfield’s first baseman couldn’t handle Thomas Ferroggiaro’s (Santa Clara) bases-loaded grounder and Luke Lavin (Stanford) sprinted home with the decisive run.

Corvallis (17-3, 16-3 WCL) won its third game in a row in the six-game, two-city series with the Drifters, who claimed the first two games. The teams return to Springfield on June 23 for the 4:05 p.m. finale.

Oregon State’s Laif Palmer will make his starting debut for Corvallis; Bushnell’s Ethan Paulson makes his debut for Springfield.

Five Corvallis pitchers blanked the Drifters on two hits over the first eight innings and Corvallis headed into the ninth with a 3-0 lead. However, the first six Drifters all reached safely and they tied the game with a one-out groundout.

Corvallis threatened in the 10th but could not score. Undeterred, they eventually prevailed in the 11th inning for their fourth walk-off triumph of the summer.

Starting pitcher Jackson Flora (UCSB, pictured, above) blanked the Drifters on one hit over four innings, striking out three. Springfield loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, but Flora induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to keep a clean sheet.

Flora maintained his perfect 0.00 ERA over eight innings in two starts. He has allowed only one hit and has seven strikeouts.

Reliever Gabe Hernandez (CSUN) pitched a perfect 11th inning and earned the win.

Kevin Takeuchi (USC) was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs to earned Washington Park Mutual Player of the Game honors. Brandon Cabrera (Lewis-Clark State) was 1-for-4 with two runs and three stolen bases and shortstop Blake Wilson (Washington) scored, had an RBI and stole a base.

Wilson started three inning-ending double plays to preserve the 3-0 lead; Corvallis  just missed a fourth twin killing in the ninth inning.

Corvallis is idle on June 24, then opens a four-game series with the Cowlitz Black Bears on June 25. The teams play a 5 p.m. doubleheader June 26; Corvallis will be the visiting team in the opener, the makeup of a game at Longview postponed by rain on June 2.

Box score

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