In a back-and-forth affair, the Highland baseball Bulldogs erased a two-run deficit in the fifth inning and then erupted for a five-run sixth to rally past visiting Triad 9-4 on Wednesday of last week at Glik Park.
The win moved Highland’s overall record to 17-9 while evening up the Bulldogs’ Mississippi Valley Conference mark at 4-4. Highland closed out league play with Tuesday’s game at Jerseyville and Wednesday’s game at Waterloo.
The loss dipped Triad’s overall record to 5-20 and kept the Knights winless the MVC at 0-8.
Highland outhit Triad 14-9 for the game.
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The Bulldogs had four players with at least two hits, led by junior outfielders Andrew Winning and Will Greenwald with three hits apiece.
Winning raised his batting average thanks to a perfect 3-for-3 day at the dish and also added a walk to reach base in all four plate appearances to pace the Bulldogs. Winning, also knocked in a run and scored a run.
Greenwald also boosted his batting average by going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.
Producing two hits each were senior Grant Geppert and junior Sam Greene.
Geppert also contributed two RBIs, one walk and two runs.
Greene also belted a double, drove in a game-high three runs and scored once.
For Triad, Brendan McGrath and Nate Funk led the way with two hits and one run apiece, with McGrath slugging one triple, one double.
Also for the Knights, Will Mauer drove home a team-best two runs.
With the game deadlocked at 4-4, the Bulldogs finally managed to grab a lead they would not relinquish after a strong sixth inning where they rallied for a handful of runs.
Highland went on top for good on Geppert’s two-run single to right field off Triad junior Gavin Gibbs, scoring Greenwald (single) and senior Cody Bentlage (hit by pitch) for a 6-4 HHs lead. Right before Geppert’s game-breaking hit, Greenwald and Bentalge set the table by both stealing a base on the same play to move into scoring position.
The Bulldogs were not done there. Later in the inning, Greene yanked a double to left to plate Geppert and Winning (single) to double up the Knights 8-4 and junior Jordan Smith smacked a single the opposite way to right to chase Greene home and complete the game’s scoring.
Gibbs was charged with the loss after being tagged for five earned runs on six hits, one walk and the one hit batsman in just two innings of work. He did strike out three.
The big rally made a winner out of HHS senior reliever Tyler Kimmle, who worked the final three innings and allowed just one earned run (two overall), two hits and one walk. He punched out six.
Smith pitched the first four frames for Highland and gave up two earned runs on six hits. He walked none and struck out one.
Trailing 4-2 in the fifth, Kimmle pulled the Bulldogs within one run with an RBI single to center to score Geppert (single), and junior Griffin Welz hit a sacrifice fly to allow Winning (walk) to tag and score the equalizer.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Greenwald doubled to ignite Highland’s offense. A bunt single by Bentlage moved Greenwald from second to third and a single from Winning brought Greenwald to home plate.
After Triad tied it at 1-1 in the third on a run-scoring single from Nick Rosenthal, Highland answered back to reclaim the lead in the home half on an RBI single by Greene to plate senior Matt Augustin (double).
The Knights again tied it up, this time at 2-2, as McGrath tripled and later scored on a ground out.
Then Triad went on top for the first time at 4-2 on Mauer’s two-run single in the top of the fifth.
But it didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to respond as they pushed across the pair of runs of their own in the bottom half to deadlock the score at 4 all and set the stage for the winning sixth-inning explosion that lit up the scoreboard five times.