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Romero’s walkoff homer powers Knights to dramatic 7-6 victory

Thursday, July 21, Corvallis, Ore. – Kiko Romero’s dramatic walkoff homer with two outs in the ninth inning powered Corvallis to 7-6 victory over Cowlitz at Goss Stadium.

Romero’s (pictured, above) opposite-field blast over the taller portion of the left-field barrier came on a 3-1 pitch. It set off a wild celebration from the crowd of 1,912 and his teammates, who mobbed him as he approached home plate to complete his joyful journey around the bases, and then drenched him by dumping the contents of a water bucket on his head.

It was the team-leading fifth homer of the summer for Romero, an Arizona signee, and his first since June 30 at Springfield. It gave the Knights (27-13, all, 27-12 WCL, 9-4 second half) a series and season sweep of the Black Bears.

Corvallis also won three games in Longview on June 14-16 to complete a season-opening nine-game winning streak.

It was a come-from-behind win. After falling behind 6-5 when the Black Bears scored four times in the top of the eighth, Corvallis tied the game in the bottom half on Brady Lavoie’s (San Diego State) RBI single.

RBIs by Romero and Ryan Stafford (Cal Poly) put the Knights ahead 2-1 in the third. Zander Darby’s (UC Santa Barbara) RBI double made it 3-1 in the fourth.

Cowlitz drew with 3-2 with a solo homer in the sixth but the Knights regained some breathing room with two runs in the seventh. One run scored on an error, the other on a squeeze bunt by Mason Le (CSU-Northridge).

Reliever Ethan Ross (San Jose State) went the final 1.2 innings for the win. Cowlitz got the tying run on base with two outs, but a grounder to second base ended the game.

Knights starter Cam Day (Utah) allowed five hits and one unearned run in four innings. He opened the game with 11 consecutive strikes, threw 51 in 72 total pitches and had five strikeouts, the final three to escape unscathed from a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth inning.

The homestand continues this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Incoming Stanford freshman Matt Scott (1-0, 6.23) is the projected starter in the opener, opposed by Hawaii’s Alex Giroux (3-0, 3.00) for the Pickles.

Linn-Benton’s Kaden Segel (2-1, 2.42) and UCSB’s Matt Ager (0-1, 2.89) will start Games 2 and 3 for the Knights. Portland has not yet announced its probable starters.

A nonleague game with the Northwest Star Nighthawks on Monday and Tuesday and Thursday games with Springfield complete the homestand.

The Knights clinched their 15th consecutive postseason berth on July 7 by winning the South Division’s first-half championship by two games over Ridgefield. They will be the No. 1 seed in the South Division playoffs.

The playoffs begin on Aug. 9 with the best-of-3 opening round. Corvallis will open the home portion of the postseason with Game 2 on Aug. 10. If necessary, Game 3 will be at Goss Stadium on Aug. 11.

Thursday’s crowd of 1,912 raised the season total to 33,411 in 19 dates. That’s an average of 1,758 per outing.

Box score

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