ENID, Okla. — Madison, Wis., was two outs away from falling into the loser's bracket of the NJCAA Division II World Series before mounting a late comeback victory Tuesday morning at David Allen Memorial Ballpark over No. 3 seed Mesa, Ariz.
After battling back from a 3-1 deficit with a one-out game-tying rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, Madison's Nick Gile put the finishing touches on the No. 2 seed Wolfpack's comeback with a 12th-inning walk off solo home run as Madison escaped with a 4-3 win over the Thunderbirds.
Up until the ninth inning, the Thunderbirds were in control behind the pitching of starter Jake Denham, who went 8 1/3 innings and striking out seven.
After giving up a run to Madison in the second inning, Denham kept the Wolfpack at bay until the ninth inning.
The Wolfpack took their early 1-0 lead on Carl Valk's RBI single.
Mesa tied the game 1-1 in the fifth when John Leslie's RBI single brought Greg Student home for Mesa's first run. The Thunderbirds added single runs in the seventh and eighth inning to build a 3-1 lead.
Madison rallied for two runs in the ninth when Valk, who went 4-for-5, hit his second double, driving in a run to make it 3-2. Valk scored the tying run on Walter Jenkins' third hit of the contest, a single to left.
Gile then ended the game with his lead-off, walk-off home run to left in the 12th inning.
Mesa reliever Tommy Garcia took the loss. Madison reliever Eliot Turnquist, who went three innings in relief of starter Brandon Komar, got credit for the win.
The victory kept Madison undefeated in the Series and secured the Wolfpack's spot in the Final Four. Mesa fell to the loser's bracket and a second game on Tuesday against Northeast Nebraska in an elimination game. The winner of that game will play Madison Wednesday at 7 p.m.
NE NEBRASKA 8, LINCOLN LAND 5
In an elimination game Tuesday morning at Failing Field, Northeast Nebraska held off a late rally from Lincoln Land and downed the Loggers 8-5 to stay alive.
The Hawks held a 6-1 lead after five innings.
NE Nebraska put up three runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Bryce Walker. After the Loggers made it 3-1 in the top half of the fifth, NE Nebraska scored three more runs in the bottom of the inning on the strength of a pair of singles, a walk, a hit batter and a sacrifice fly.
Lincoln Land trimmed the Hawks' lead to 6-2 with a run in the seventh, but the Hawks responded with a pair of runs in the eighth inning to extend their lead to 8-2.
Talon File's two-out, three-run home run to left in the top of the ninth inning off reliever Andrew Alstadt made it 8-5. But that was the end of the Loggers' late comeback effort.
NE Nebraska survived to face Mesa in another elimination game on Tuesday.
MESA 8, NE NEBRASKA 6, 10 INNINGS
In a back-and-forth affair, Mesa, Ariz., outlasted NE Nebraska 8-6 in 10 innings in an elimination game Tuesday evening at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
The Thunderbirds were able to bounce back from a Tuesday morning loss to Madison, Wisc., to keep their World Series title hopes alive and now will have a rematch with Madison Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the semifinal round.
Mesa broke a 6-6 tie in the top of the 10th inning when Connor Denning scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch from NE Nebraska reliever Alex Potter. The Thunderbirds added an insurance run on another wild pitch that brought Taylor Darden home from third. The Thunderbirds were the beneficiaries of three wild pitches and a walk in the frame.
NE Nebraska threatened in the bottom of the 10th after a two-out single and a walk, but Mesa reliever Dustin Schorie retired Derek Botaletto on a ground out to extend Mesa's season and send the Hawks home.
The Hawks, who kept their season going with a win over Lincoln Land Tuesday morning, briefly grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning but Mesa tied the game 2-2 one inning later and grabbed its first lead on Luke Patty's solo home run in the third inning.
NE Nebraska's Bryce Walker answered Patty's round-tripper with a solo home run in the fourth inning to make it 3-3.
After Mesa addd a run in the fifth, NE Nebraska put up three runs in the sixth to take a 6-4 lead with Spencer Weber's two-run double highlighting the inning.
However, the Hawks could not hold the lead when Mesa added a pair of game-tying runs in the eighth inning with the rally starting on a dropped third strike allowing Brian So to reach base and eventually score on Denning's RBI single. Denning then scored one batter later courtesy of a wild pitch to make it 8-8 as the game reached extra innings.
Schorie got the win in relief, going 4 2/3 innings and striking out eight with no runs. Potter took the loss in relief for the Hawks, who were making their first appearance in the World Series in only their second year as a program.