Tigers Overcome Miscues for 8-7 Walk-Off Win Over Plum
North Allegheny overcame nine errors and a six-run deficit for an 8-7 win in eight innings against the Plum Mustangs on Monday night in non-section play. Down to their final strike in the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers rallied to tie the game on a double steal and won the topsy turvy contest in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a walk-off RBI single by Andrew Hart. Junior left-hander Charles Mau was the winning pitcher with two scoreless innings of relief. Mau efficiently retired all six batters he faced, including four strikeouts, to earn Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors.
It was an inauspicious beginning for the Tigers as the visiting Mustangs capitalized on six early errors to build a 6-0 lead by the top of the third inning. Plum starter Brady Dojonovic blanked NA in the first two frames but the Tigers lineup was able to break through in the bottom of the third on a two-out RBI double by Hart to trim the deficit to 6-1. In the bottom of the fourth, junior J.D. Costanzo belted a solo home run, his second of the season, to cut the score to 6-2, Plum.
North Allegheny’s comeback bid continued in the bottom of the fifth when senior Spencer Barnett delivered an RBI triple off the right field fence and Hart followed with an RBI single to shrink the Plum advantage to 6-4.
The Mustangs answered in the top of the sixth inning to extend the lead to 7-4. A leadoff error by NA set the table and Plum capitalized on an RBI single by Nick Lamia. All seven runs for the Mustangs were unearned on the night.
Undaunted, the North Allegheny lineup continued to battle and scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and ultimately tied the score in the bottom of the seventh at 7-7 on a successful double steal by Harron Lee and Andrew Dougherty. Lee was caught in a run down between first and second and kept the play alive to allow Dougherty to score from third to even the score.
Despite a rocky night defensively, North Allegheny capped the comeback in the bottom of the eighth when a Plum error started the inning, allowing Barnett to reach second base on a dropped pop up. Barnett then stole third and crossed the plate on a walk-off RBI infield single by Hart to lift the Tigers to an 8-7 victory. Both Barnett and Hart finished with 3-for-4 performances at the plate. Barnett scored three runs and drove in one, while Hart tallied three RBIs.
Plum reliever Colin Watson, who pitched out of a two-out, no-out jam in the sixth inning, suffered the loss in two innings of work. Watson walked one, while striking out four.
On the bump for NA, sophomore starter Nicholas Varlotta surrendered three unearned runs in three innings, with two walks and three strikeouts. Junior Cole Suba tossed one inning out of the bullpen with one unearned run permitted. Mau picked up the victory in a six-up, six-down effort in the seventh and eighth innings.
With the comeback victory, North Allegheny improves to 2-0 on the season. The Tigers are slated to host State College on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. in another non-section battle. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network.
Line Score - Baseball vs. Plum - 04/03/2023
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