Grizzlies win on a walk-off

Special to the News-DemocratJuly 13, 2013 

Jonathan Johnson hit a three-run walk-off home run and the Gateway Grizzlies picked up a 9-7 11-inning victory against the Evansville Otters on Friday night at GCS Ballpark in Sauget.

With two on and two outs in the bottom of the 11th, Johnson cranked his third home run of the season to right field, giving the Grizzlies their third walk-off win of the season.

Gateway (31-18) and Evansville (26-22) went back-and-forth all night in the extra-inning game.

Jose Flores picked up a sacrifice fly in the first inning and Evansville's Jordan Tripp answered with an RBI single in the bottom half to tie it 1-1.

The Grizzlies scored two runs on an error and a Johnson RBI groundout in the second inning to take a 3-1 lead.

That lead was short-lived though as Nich Schwaner put Evansville in front with a three-run homerin the third.

Chris McClendon stayed hot with a solo home run in the bottom of the third, tying it 4-4.

Gateway took a 5-4 lead in the fifth on a Jet Butler RBI groundout, but the Otters answered with a John Schultz solo shot in the seventh, tying it again at 5-5.

McClendon smashed his second home run of the game and his fifth of the season in the seventh to give the Grizzlies a one run lead.

Trailing by one in the ninth inning against Grizzlies closer Richard Barrett, Evansville rallied for a run on a Gateway error to push the game to extra innings.

Evansville went ahead again on a Grizzlies' error in the 11th, but Johnson's heroics in the bottom half helped Gateway come out victorious.

McClendon paced the Grizzlies going 3-for-4 with two home runs, raising his average to .341.

Jason Sullivan (2-0) picked up the win in his one inning of relief.

Right-hander Jake Stephens goes for the Grizzlies on Saturday night at GCS Ballpark, where the ZOOperstars! will perform. First pitch is set for 7:05.

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