ABILENE - Down to his last strike with two outs in the 10th and the bases full, junior outfielder Jordan Forrester ripped a game-winning single down the third-base line to give Abilene Christian a dramatic 3-2 win over Grand Canyon Saturday afternoon during day two of the Bourland-Ardoin Classic at Crutcher Scott Field.
The win improved ACU's early-season record to 6-2, while the Antelopes fell to 4-7 and 0-3 on their weekend trip to Abilene.
The decisive inning began with a fly ball to center and then senior catcher Seth Spivey drove one off the wall in right field that landed just a few feet short of home-run territory. Spivey, however, settled for a double and moved to third following back-to-back two-out walks issued by reliever Scott Serigstad (0-1). Tyler Eager was walked intentionally, but Kyle Giusti earned his in battling through an eight-pitch at-bat.
Forrester - who entered the game in the ninth as a pinch runner for Russell Crippen - swung and missed at two of the first three pitches he saw from Serigstad, but connected on a 2-2 pitch that streaked past the diving third baseman Seth Fretheim.
ACU had to play from behind early after the Antelopes plated a second-inning run against starter Austin Lambright when Ben Mauseth singled up the middle to score Matt Haggerty from second bases with two outs. But two innings later, the Wildcats tied the score at 1-1 on Brandon Grudzielanek's single to left that was ACU's third straight base hit with two outs vs. GCU starter Ethan Evanko.
In the seventh, ACU took a 2-1 lead on Gunner Buhner's sacrifice fly to left but a costly baserunning error on the same play prevented the Wildcats from adding any insurance runs. And then in the bottom of the eighth, after GCU had just tied the game at 2-2 on an unearned run, the Wildcats had a run stricken from the scoreboard because of a batter's interference call.
After Giusti struck out swinging for the second out, it appeared that Aaron Draper scored from third well before Eager was tagged out in between first and second base; however, the home plate umpire said that Giusti's swing got in the way of the throw of catcher Chris Lindmark.
Both teams again threatened to put the game away in the ninth before coming away empty.
Wildcat reliever Kevin Sheets (2-0) got out of a two-out jam with runners at the corners by getting the Antelopes' No. 3 hitter Paul Panaccione to ground out to Giusti at third base, and in the bottom of the ninth, GCU survived a leadoff walk to Crippen that was followed by Grudzielanek's sacrifice bunt.
In the top of the 10th, Sheets gave up consecutive two-out singles but came back to strike out reserve catcher Humberto Aranda.
The Wildcats return to action Sunday at 3 p.m. vs. Kansas State, which started Saturday's tripleheader with an 11-1 win over Grand Canyon.
Kansas State 11, Grand Canyon 1
Landon Busch delivered a 100-pitch complete game with four strikeouts in leading the Kansas State Wildcats to an 11-1 win over Grand Canyon Saturday morning to begin day two of the Bourland-Ardoin Classic.
After allowing a run in the sixth on a RBI ground ball to short, Busch retired 10 of the final 12 batters he faced, including a swinging srikeout of Ben Mauseth to end the game after 2 hours and 17 minutes.
The Wildcats supported Busch with four-runs between the third and fourth innings, and then put the game on ice after sending 10 men to the plate during a six-run eighth inning.
Infielder Lance Miles led the K-State offense, going 2-for-4 with a pair of two-run doubles in the third and eighth. No. 9 hitter Clayton Dalrymple also did well at the plate, scoring three runs on three hits.