WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Junior center fielder William Bissell (Brewer, Maine) lined the game-winning hit over the head of Rowan University's second baseman in the 11th inning Wednesday night to score two runs as Gallaudet University celebrated its biggest win in program history. The Bison battled back from three runs down in the 11th to win, 11-10, over nationally ranked Rowan in the Chain of Lakes Park Stadium at the RussMatt Invitational in Florida.
"This is an incredible win and unbelievable feeling," said Gallaudet coach Curtis Pride, in his fifth season, about the victory. "I am very proud of the way the team played tonight. We battled to the end of the game. We didn't quit even when we were down three runs. This is without a doubt the biggest win in Gallaudet baseball history."
Gallaudet (7-10) jumped out early on the Profs (8-4) by scoring three runs in the first and second innings. Rowan slowly chipped away at the Bison lead and scored two runs in the third and six innings. GU starting pitcher Chris Guinn (McLoud, Okla.) got through six innings before making way for the Bison bullpen.
The Profs tied the game in the seventh with two runs and took their first lead with a run in the top of the 8th inning.
GU, the home team for this neutral site game, was down to its final strike in the bottom of the ninth inning. Freshman pinch hitter Peter LoDuca (Great Neck, N.Y.) faced a 1-2 count and singled up the middle to score senior Jeremy Adams (Glenn Dale, Md.) from second base to knot the game at seven, send the game into extra innings.
Adams pitched the ninth, 10th innings for the Bison and recorded two outs in the 11th as Rowan scored three runs to take a 10-7 lead. Freshman Zach Kohler (Union City, Calif.) came in to get the last out of the inning for the Bison.
Rowan junior pitcher Nick Henderson retired Gallaudet's first batter in the bottom of the 11th inning on an easy groundout. Junior Marcus Smith (Baltimore, Md.) singled and Henderson walked junior JJ Klein (Cincinnati, Ohio). Brian Rice came in to pitch for Rowan and walked freshman Chase Magsig (Hudsonville, Mich.) to load the bases. Senior shortstop Tommy Barksdale (Brookeville, Md.) stepped to the plate and doubled to left center field to plate Smith and Klein. Bissell followed with his game-winning hit that scored Magsig and Barksdale. The Bison bench erupted and stormed out to greet Barksdale at home plate and then raced over to mob Bissell for coming through with the clutch hit.
"Everyone contributed tonight to this win," said Pride. "This win shows the team that we can compete with some of the top teams in the country."
This was Rowan's second straight loss and third in five games during its spring break trip to Florida. The Profs lost 12-8 to former No. 1 SUNY Cortland but then defeated the Red Dragons the next day, 5-4. After a 9-3 win over UMass-Boston last Sunday the Profs lost, 16-5, to No. 12 Western New England on Monday.
The Bison turn around to face Rutgers-Camden on Thursday, March 21, at 3 p.m. before finishing the spring break trip with a doubleheader against another nationally ranked team, No. 25 Washington & Jefferson on Friday, March 22.
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world. For more information about Gallaudet University please log onto www.gallaudet.edu.