FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Cardinal team broke open a close game with a nine-run seventh and defeated White, 13-5, in game five of the Cardinal-White Series on Thursday afternoon at Baum Stadium.
With the victory, Cardinal remains alive in the series as White now holds a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game six is scheduled for Saturday with first pitch at 12 p.m. Senior southpaw Randall Fant will start for White, while sophomore left hander Jalen Beeks will get the nod for Cardinal.
After getting shutout in its last three games, Cardinal broke out with 13 runs on 15 hits in Thursday's game. Tyler Spoon had a game-high four hits and drove in two runs to lead Cardinal at the plate. Jacob Morris homered and went 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. Joe Serrano also drove in three runs and had two hits, while Dominic Ficociello was 3-for-5 with two RBI.
Jacob Mahan and Jake Wise each had a pair of hits for the White team. Wise drove in a pair of runs, while Brian Anderson also added two RBI.
Barrett Astin earned the win out of the bullpen for Cardinal. Astin struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings. Brian Heldman and Colby Suggs each threw a shutout inning with a strikeout.
Thomas Altimont took the loss for White. Altimont gave up four runs, three earned, on three hits and struck out two in 1.2 innings.
Tyler Wright and Trent Daniel started, but did not factor into the decision. Wright gave up three runs on five hits in 4.2 innings for Cardinal, while Daniel allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out seven in five innings for White.
The White team jumped out to an early lead with a run in the bottom of the second. With two out, Matt Vinson walked and then stole second. Wise singled up the middle to score Vinson for the game's first run.
White added on two more runs in the bottom of the third. Michael Gunn walked to begin the inning and then stole second base. A sacrifice bunt by Terry Tatum advanced Gunn to third. Brett McAfee then hit a ground ball to Spoon at third base and he threw home to retire Gunn at the plate for the second out of the inning. White kept the inning alive with a single to right by Mahan. McAfee advanced to third on the plate, while Mahan reached second on the throw to third. Anderson came through with a clutch two-out single to center field, plating McAfee and Mahan to make the score 3-0.
Cardinal cut into the lead with two runs in the top of the fifth. With two out, Spoon doubled down the left field line and was along for the ride on Morris' two-run homer over the wall in left field.
Cardinal took its first lead since game one of the series with a nine-run top of the seventh. Blake Baxendale led off the inning with a single and a sacrifice bunt by Josh Alberius advanced pinch runner Jordan Farris to second. After Spoon struck out for the second out of the inning, Morris was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Eric Fisher walked to load the bases. Serrano gave Cardinal the lead with a two-run single to right field, scoring Farris and Morris. Ficociello drove in the third run of the inning with a single to center field. Clayton Booth then hit a grounder back to the mound, which was mishandled by Hayden Barnett, allowing Serrano to score. Farris continued the marry-go-round with a single to right field, bringing home Ficociello. A wild pitch scored Jean Ramirez and a two-run single by Spoon to left field brought home two more runs. Morris closed the scoring with a RBI single to left field to make the score 11-3.
White got two runs back in the bottom of the eighth. Willie Schwanke doubled to lead off the inning and later scored on a RBI groundout by Isaac Hellbusch. With two out, Vinson walked, advanced to second on defensive indifference and then scored on a base hit by Wise.
Cardinal closed the scoring with two runs in the top of the ninth. Serrano drove in a run with a RBI single to right-center field and Ficociello had a RBI infield single to drive in the game's final run as Cardinal picked up the 13-5 victory.
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