Wildcat Baseball Beats Billikens on Mardiney’s Walk-off Hit in the 12th Inning
Davidson’s longest game of the season, both in terms of innings and the tick of the clock, ended rather quickly in the 12th inning just before 11 p.m. Friday when Alex Mardiney singled down the right field line to deliver a 6-5 walk-off win over Saint Louis in Atlantic 10 Conference play.
The four hour, 29-minute game concluded with Zach Nussbaum scoring from third and Davidson players pouring out of the dugout in pursuit of Mardiney, who once hit a walk-off home run as a 12-year-old in the Maryland state tournament.
“I hit it and looked over at my teammates,” said Mardiney of Friday night’s moment. “It’s great to do it for all of them. They all work so hard every day.”
The win is the 20th of the season for Davidson, which improved to 20-17 and 9-4 in league play. Saint Louis (17-23) fell to 6-7 in the A-10.
Early on, it appeared no late-inning dramatics would be necessary, as the Wildcats built a 4-0 lead through two innings. Matt Frey scored on Justin Lebek’s bases-loaded infield fly in the first inning, then hit his fourth home run of the season, a three-run shot off the scoreboard in right, in the second.
But the Billikens climbed back into it and took their first lead, 5-4, with two runs in the top of the seventh. Lebek led off the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to left center, his eighth homer of the year, to tie the game at 5-5.
Each team threatened in extra innings, with Davidson thwarting Saint Louis’ best chance with an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play in the 11th.
It all came together for the Wildcats in the 12th. After Trevor Candelaria flied out to center, Nussbaum drew a walk. Frey singled to right, and Eric Jones singled to left to load the bases for Mardiney. His one-out liner past first hugged the foul line.
Gabe Levy (2-1) earned the win, pitching the final two innings, allowing one hit, striking out two and walking one. He followed starter Casey Sutherland and Austin Leonard, who pitched seven and three innings, respectively.
Frey, Jones and Brett Centracchio had three hits apiece, while Nussbaum had two hits and caught all 12 innings in his first action since early March.