A walk-off single by Mickey McGraw in the bottom of the 11th inning sent Montclair State past Denison, 6-5, on Friday afternoon in Port Charlotte, Fla.
The Red Hawks jumped ahead early with a run in the bottom of the first. After a fielding error allowed Cody Pace to reach base, a single to right by Stephen Nappe plated Pace from second base.
The Montclair State lead was short lived as the Big Red answered with a run in the second. Junior Danny Kraus got things going with a one-out base hit up the middle. After a hit-and-run single by sophomore Jeremy Tirado put runners at the corners, Kraus broke from third on a pickoff attempt to first and slid in safely before catcher Scott Glozzy could apply a tag.
Denison took the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. A single through the right side by senior Evan Nicholson and a walk issued to Kraus put two on with one out. With two down, Nicholson and Kraus executed a double steal that allowed both runners to advance. Nicholson scored the go-ahead run on an errant throw to second by Glozzy on the double steal. Tirado made it a 3-1 contest with a stand-up double down the left field line that drove in Kraus.
Both squads scored a run in the fifth to keep it a two-run game. DU's run came on an RBI double by Kyle Clemmenson that scored Tyler Nicholson. The Red Hawks answered in the bottom of the frame when Andrew Rigassio scored from third on a pass ball. Denison regained a three-run advantage in the next inning when an RBI single to left by Tirado scored Kraus from third.
In the bottom of the sixth, Montclair State loaded the bases with one out thanks to three-consecutive singles. After Big Red starter Connor Murphy struck out Rigassio swinging, a pair of hit batters pushed two runs across and moved the game-tying run 90 feet away. Following the second hit batter, junior Philip Seay entered in relief of Murphy. Seay got DU out of the jam with a ground out to Clemmenson.
MSU tied the game in the bottom of the ninth when a McGraw tripled down the right field line scored pinch runner Connor Abreu from second. McGraw attempted to score the game-winning run when a throw skipped away from Clemmenson at third, but the junior recovered and gunned down McGraw at home to push the game into extra innings.
The Big Red had the go-ahead run in scoring position with one out in the 10th, but Red Hawk reliever Jake McDonguh got a strikeout and a fly out to end the threat.
Denison senior reliever Chris Fries opened the bottom of the 11th with a strikeout. With one on, a fielder's choice by Juan Perdoma Jr. that yielded no outs moved the game-winning run into scoring position. For the second time in as many at bats, McGraw stepped up to the dish with Abreu on second. McGraw dropped a single into right center that plated the winning run and completed the comeback.
Fries suffered his first loss of the season after allowing one run on three hits in 1.1 innings. Murphy threw 5.2 innings, allowed four runs (three earned) and scattered six hits in the no decision. McDonough picked up his first win of the year after giving up just one hit in two frames.
Tirado, Mahle and Kraus all paced the Big Red offense with multiple-hit outings. Tirado was 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs, while Mahle went 3-for-4. Kraus logged two hits, including a double, scored three times and swiped two bases. Clemmenson also legged out a double, while Drew Rice and Evan Nicholson each had a stolen base.
Denison (4-7) completes its spring trip in Port Charlotte, Fla. on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Big Red will take on Mount St. Joseph before returning to Granville.