Salem, Va. -- University of Lynchburg's baseball team dropped the first of the best-of-three first-round Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament series at Roanoke College, 2-1 in 12 innings, late Friday night on a walk-off single by Maroons second baseman Cody Shell.
Shell delivered the two-out, opposite-field hit that scored Will Merriken three innings after second-seeded RC tied the game on a passed-ball strike three with two out in the ninth.
Graduate student left-hander Kinston Carson (Tappahannock, Va.) pitched brilliantly for the No. 7-seeded Hornets with nine innings of one-run ball. The southpaw struck out 10 and scattered five hits.
Final: Roanoke 2, Lynchburg 1 (12 inn.)
Records: Roanoke 20-16, Lynchburg 19-21
Venue: Salem Memorial Ballpark, Salem, Va.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Lynchburg took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when Carson tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore first baseman Avery Combs (Lynchburg, Va.).
Carson continued to dominate on the mound, scattering four Maroons hits over the first eight innings to preserve the narrow lead. RC starter Kenny Mackovic also threw well, allowing just two hits and a run over six innings.
Roanoke finally mustered a rally in the bottom of the ninth. Matt Wojciechowski reached base on a one-out hit-by-pitch, and Tyler De Meo pinch-ran for the Maroons' second baseman. Gavin Kandrick singled, and Robbie Edwards walked to load the bases with two outs. Carson fanned RC left fielder Hunter Andrews, but the third strike skipped away for a passed ball, scoring De Meo from third to tie the game, 1-1. The game went to extra innings at that score.
Lynchburg couldn't make use of a leadoff double by freshman catcher Holden Fiedler (Henrico, Va.), stranding a pair of runners on base in the 10th. Sophomore right-hander Grayson Thurman (Lynch Station, Va.) came on in relief and marooned a pair of Maroons on base in the bottom half.
The Maroons finally broke through in the 12th. Merriken hit a one-out single up the middle to start the rally, reached second on a wild pitch, and scored on Ellis' two-out knock that ended the ballgame.
The two teams will meet again Sunday, May 5 at Salem Memorial Ballpark at 1 p.m. Roanoke needs just one victory to seal the series, while Lynchburg will have to sweep the Sunday doubleheader. Game 3, if necessary, would be played 30 minutes after the completion of Game 2.