Ruckman to the Rescue
The Carroll Merchants have had a wild start to the 2017 summer. Three games in three days, decided by three runs combined. It was another barn-burner for the Merchants as they finished their two day road trip with a visit to Bancroft and the Bandits.
Zack Ruckman’s single, his fourth hit of the game, in the top of the ninth was the difference as he drove in a pair of runs to lead the Merchants to a 10-9 victory.
It was textbook baseball during the ninth inning rally, as Ben Kiefer worked a leadoff walk which was followed up by an error that allowed Bradley Sanford on base. Mitchell McCallister executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position before the game-winning hit.
Carroll was in cruise control early on, they led 5-0 after the top of the fifth. That’s when the bats came alive for the home team.
Jace Komminsk, just entering the game, hit a solo home run to cut the deficit to 5-1.
Moments later, Kaelen Dowling got in on the fun and crushed a solo home run of his own to right field.
Merchants starter, Tyler Buchanan would throw six strong innings allowing just three runs on four hits and a pair of walks. He struck out nine Bandits in his season debut.
The seventh inning is where the Bandits made their comeback, showing great patience at the plate, Bancroft managed to string together three walks and a single before William Bierlein’s double made the game 8-7. Two batters later Alex Remy delivered a single to left that scored Ben Wilkins and Bierlein that gave Bancroft their first lead of the day.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jeremy Thorson got himself into a jam as the bases were loaded with just one out. The right-hander from Duluth, Minnesota was able to get Dowling to hit into a fielders choice as Ruckman threw out the potential tying run at the plate. Thorson then struck out Colin Brophy to end the game and secure the Merchants’ second win of the season.
In addition to his game winning hit, Ruckman finished 4 for 5, with a double, a run scored and five RBI. McCallister finished with a pair of hits, including a double of his own. Ben McConnell, Sean Moore and Keifer all had knocked in a run in the win.
Komminsk had three hits for the Bandits, including his home run. Bo Fricks had a very good day at the plate, going 2 for 5, with a RBI and scoring twice himself. Remy, off the bench, went 2 for 2 with a couple RBI. Brophy also finished with two hits in the loss.
Both of these teams will play at home on Wednesday night when the Merchants host the Albert Lea Lakers while the Bandits will welcome the Storm Lake Whitecaps.