WAREHAM, MA: – Jonathan Smith had been struggling at the plate. But on Sunday evening at Spillane Field, with Wareham and Harwich deadlocked in the bottom of the ninth, his only hit of the day was the only one that mattered.
With runners at first and second and two outs, Smith (Tenn.-Wesleyan) lined a 1-1 pitch back up the middle and into center field, scoring Nico Rosthenhausler (Oklahoma State) and capping a 4-3 walk-off victory.
The Gatemen (15-18-1) trailed entering the bottom of the eighth inning for the second time in three games, but timely hitting by both Smith and Zach Wilson (Arizona State) lifted the home team against the Mariners (18-15), snapping their four-game winning streak and sending Wareham to its third straight win.
Rosthenhausler led off the bottom of the ninth with a hard-earned infield single, and advanced to second on an error. Righty reliever Matt Ramsey (Tennessee) struck out the next two batters, bringing up Smith with a chance to win it, and the Niagara Falls, N.Y., native capitalized.
But it was Wilson’s three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth that put Wareham in a winning position in the first place. Trailing 2-0 and with Wareham only amassing five hits up until that point, Wilson, a Western Division All-Star, launched his second home run of the season into the football field bleachers, scoring Smith and fellow All-Star Tony Caldwell (Auburn) to put the Gatemen on top.
Harwich was able to rally off of Keith Bilodeau (Maine) in the top of the ninth, as John Wooten (East Carolina) drove in the tying run with two outs and a runner at second to extend the ball game. But Smith made sure the day did not end on a sour note, propelling Wareham to its first walk-off victory of the season.
Pierce Johnson (Missouri State) was in position for the win until the late-game heroics. The righty struck out eight over and walked one while scattering five hits over seven shutout innings. Joseph Flynn (Franklin Pierce) made his first start of the season for Wareham, and threw six solid innings. The local product out of Plymouth, Mass., allowed two runs off of five hits while striking out five and walking one.
Erik Miller (TCU) relieved Flynn in the seventh, and tossed two scoreless innings of his own. The righty struck out two and allowed no hits in his third outing of the season. Will Locante (Tennessee) wound up with the loss, allowing the Rosthenhausler single to start the bottom of the ninth before he was pulled. Bilodeau picked up the win—his first of the season.
Harwich took the early lead in the top of the first. Ronnie Richardson (Central Florida) singled up the middle to start the game, stole second and reached third on a throwing error, and was plated on an RBI groundout. Two innings later, the Mariners tacked on another off of Tyler Pill (Cal St. Fullerton), who dropped a base hit into shallow center to score Taylor Dugas (Alabama) and drive in his second of the day, putting the visitors up 2-0.
Wareham returns to Spillane Field tomorrow night, looking to win its season-series against Hyannis outright. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.