College Baseball: Lewis walks off a 9-8 winner over St. Francis
By Tim O’Brien For Sun-Times Media April 22, 2014 7:32PM
Updated: May 24, 2014 6:34AM
Having played in just three games this season and totaling just seven at-bats, Lewis’ Kelton Zimmerman intended to make the most of his rare start Tuesday.
The junior did more than just contribute against area rival St. Francis.
Zimmerman knocked in the game-winning run, his bloop single to center field scoring Alex Slaby to lift host Lewis to a 9-8 victory in a back-and-forth game.
“I’m feeling confident (in that situation),” Zimmerman said. “I had to stay calm and get that good pitch to hit. I thought it was hanging up in the air too far. The wind helped knock it down a bit.”
After dropping four games at Southern Indiana over the weekend, Lewis improved to 20-19 with the win. The Flyers got contributions from all sorts of unlikely suspects, starting with Zimmerman who finished 2-for-5 with two RBI.
Jared Pyatt had started just six games before Tuesday but finished with two home runs, including a two-run bomb in the third, on a 3-for-5 day. He also scored three times.
“The first at-bat, I worked a good count and did something I don’t normally do and hit to right field,” Pyatt said. “It happened to go out. The second one, it was an outside pitch again and it was something I could drive.”
Both homers were opposite-field shots to right field for Pyatt.
Having tied the game at 8 with his sacrifice fly in the seventh, Joel Rotkvich (St. Laurence) one-upped himself in the ninth. On a bullpen day for the Flyers, Rotkvich was called on to pitch the ninth.
Typically an infielder, Rotkvich (3-for-3, RBI, 3 runs) walked one and struck out one, setting up Zimmerman’s walk-off heroics.
When was Rotkvich’s previous win on the mound?
“Maybe in high school, but it’s been awhile,” he said with a laugh. “I knew I had to throw strikes. I hadn’t thrown since our Florida trip over spring break, so I tried to compete in the zone.”
Mike Barajas and Josh Walinski added RBI for Lewis. Dylan Cysewski pitched two hitless innings over the seventh and eighth as the Flyers mounted a comeback from an 8-5 deficit.
St. Francis (29-16) led 8-5 after Rick Faron’s RBI triple in the sixth.
“Give Lewis credit because they brought some guys in throwing (from odd angles),” St. Francis coach Brian Michalak said. “They can be tough to hit. We didn’t change anything we were trying to do — I hope we didn’t — and our approach was put the ball in play.”
Matt Scott had a two-run single for the Saints. David Kuhne and Kyle Burton each scored twice.