Linnenkohl's 11th-Inning Homer Sends Wake to 3-2 Defeat of No. 22 Charlotte
April 24, 2007
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Brett Linnenkohl's solo home run in the top of the 11th inning sent Wake Forest to a 3-2 defeat of No. 22 Charlotte Tuesday evening in front of a standing room only crowd at the newly-renovated Hayes Stadium.
The Demon Deacons rallied back from a 2-1 deficit to post their second extra-inning win against the 49ers this season. In the two teams' first meeting, February 27 in Winston-Salem, Tyler Smith hit a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th inning to give Wake Forest the win.
This time it was Linnenkohl's turn to provide the dramatics and send the Deacs to a season series sweeping defeat of the 49ers. Linnenkohl led off the 11th by launching a 2-1 pitch from reliever Matt Foard to left field for his sixth home run of the season. Prior to Linnenkohl's homer, Foard had retired the previous seven Wake hitters in order.
Charlotte didn't go quietly in the bottom of the 11th, though, putting runners at the corners, but Josh Ellis got Kris Rochelle to ground out to second to end the game.
Ellis (3-2) earned the win with three innings of scoreless relief. The senior closer was virtually unhittable in his first two innings of the night, striking out five of the first six batters he faced.
Wake Forest starter Ben Hunter turned in another strong outing on the mound. Hunter had an almost identical performance to his start against Coastal Carolina last week. He got a no-decision with six innings of work, allowing two runs on seven hits. Hunter struck out six and walked two against the 49ers.
In last Wednesday's no-decision against the Chanticleers, Hunter pitched six innings and allowed two runs on six hits with six strikeouts and a walk. Since being shifted from the bullpen two weeks ago, Hunter is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA and 15 strikeouts in three starts.
The win at nationally-ranked Charlotte moves Wake Forest to 23-22 overall. The 49ers drop to 32-8 on the season, falling for just the second time in their last eight games.
Charlotte starter Kyle Pfirrman retired the first nine Wake Forest hitters in order before Linnenkohl broke up his perfect game bid with a leadoff single in the fourth. Linnenkohl moved to second on a wild pitch and then to third on Andy Goff's sacrifice bunt. After Pfirrman walked Allan Dykstra on five pitches, Linnenkohl scored the first run of the game on an errant pickoff throw to third from catcher Rochelle.
Charlotte got the run back in its half of the fourth. Brad McElroy led off with a double down the rightfield line, and one out later Aaron Bray drove him in with an RBI single through the right side.
The 49ers took the lead with another run in the fifth. Hunter put Shayne Moody on with a one-out walk and then threw a wild pitch to move him up to second. McElroy plated Moody with a two-out single up the middle, hitting the ball just past the glove of Hunter.
Charlotte looked to add to its lead in the sixth, but Evan Ocheltree saved a run with his arm in rightfield. After Alex Burt reached on an infield single, Spencer Steedley doubled to right. Burt tried to score on the play but was cut down at home. Ocheltree threw to Goff who relayed it catcher Austin Jones to get Burt on a close play at the plate.
The Deacons tied it up with a run in the seventh. Ben Terry reached on a bunt single, and Ocheltree followed with a single to left. One out later, Michael Murray came through for Wake with a run-scoring single through the right side.
The 49ers came within inches of re-taking the lead in the eighth. Chris Taylor greeted new Deacon reliever Phil Negus with a deep drive to leftfield. However, Linnenkohl was there to make a leaping catch at the top of the wall, robbing Taylor of a certain extra-base hit.
Wake Forest held Charlotte scoreless for the final six innings of the game, letting just one runner reach third base during the span.
Brad Kledzik pitched an inning of relief, surrendering one hit in a scoreless seventh, while Negus held Charlotte to just a one-out walk in the eighth.
At the plate, Linnenkohl and Ocheltree posted multi-hit nights. Linnenkohl was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, while Ocheltree finished 2-for-4. Terry's bunt single in the seventh extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Goff pushed his hitting streak to seven games with a bunt single of his own in the eighth.
Bray had three hits and two stolen bases to lead the 49ers' offense.
Pfirrman received a no-decision for Charlotte, going seven innings on the night. The lefty gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits. He struck out nine and walked just one.
Wake Forest returns to action tomorrow when it travels to Boone, N.C., for an afternoon matinee with Appalachian State. RHP Joel Ernst (0-2, 5.62) will start for the Deacons. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.