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Gators rally past Big Red to open NCAC Tourney

Ryan Mulligan had two hits and an RBI against Allegheny Thursday morning.
Ryan Mulligan had two hits and an RBI against Allegheny Thursday morning.

Three late-game errors and a pair of runs in the ninth inning pushed the Allegheny Gators past Denison, 5-3, in the second game of the 2013 North Coast Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament on Thursday in Chillicothe, Ohio.

After two and a half scoreless innings, the Big Red broke the tie in the bottom of the third inning.  Senior catcher Lowell Hall led off the frame with a double on a ball that snuck inside the first base bag and rolled into the right field corner.  After a ground ball to first moved the senior to third, sophomore Charlie Apfelbach legged out an infield single to second to score Hall.  In addition to giving DU a one-run lead, Apfelbach's hit also extended his school-record hitting streak to 27 games.

Allegheny answered in the top of the sixth when a base hit by Eric Weyant scored Zach Gray from first base.  In the bottom of the frame, Denison scored two runs on the strength of three hits to regain the lead.  Apfelbach led things off with a base knock to right.  Senior Kyle Clemmenson followed with double down the left field line that scored the sophomore from first base.  On the play, Clemmenson moved up to third on the throw home.  Sophomore Ryan Mulligan drove in Clemmenson from third when he dropped a 1-1 pitch into shallow right field.

In the seventh, the Gators tied the game once again thanks to a pair of hits and two costly errors by the Big Red.  With a runner on second and one out, a fielding error allowed Allegheny to put runners at the corners.  Joe Killian followed with an infield single that scored Mike Kasteli from third.  With runners at first and second and one down, a throwing error on an attempted double-play ball allowed Allegheny to score the game-tying run.

The game remained tied until the ninth when the Gators plated two more runs on four hits and another fielding miscue.  After a one-out single to right, a dropped fly ball put runners at second and third for the Gators.  With two ducks on the pond, Weyant ripped a single up the middle that scored Gray and Ben Murray.

Apfelbach and Mulligan both recorded two hits and drove in a run, while Clemmenson, Apfelbach and Hall scored DU's three runs.  With his RBI double, Clemmenson extended his streak of games reaching base to 33.  Denison starter Kyle Colgain scattered eight hits and allowed three runs (two earned) with four strikeouts over 6.1 innings.  Senior Tim Duxbury (6-3) suffered the loss after giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits in 2.2 innings out of the pen.

Denison falls to 25-15 on the year, while Allegheny improves to 25-14.  The Big Red returns to the diamond at 7 p.m. to take on Oberlin in the first elimination game of the 2013 NCAC Tournament.  The Yeomen dropped their opener to Wooster, 11-3.

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