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La Salle-Peru lead-off hitter Bret Storm gets hit by a pitch Tuesday during the Cavaliers’ 7-6 loss to Geneseo in a Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division game at Veterans Park in Peru. NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
After battling back from an early three-run deficit, the La Salle-Peru baseball team led by a run entering the seventh.
Unfortunately for the Cavs, the lead would not hold as Geneseo rallied for a pair of runs and held on in the bottom of the inning to take a 7-6 win over L-P in Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division action at Kolanowski Field in Peru.
An outfield error on a single from Geneseo’s Joe Thomas helped set the stage for the seventh-inning comeback as it allowed Maple Leaf No. 6 hitter Trevor Craig — who reached on a fielder’s choice — to advance to third and Thomas to second.
Craig scored the tying run on a wild pitch from L-P reliever Erik Gens, and pinch hitter Jeremy May tacked on the winning run with a squeeze bunt that brought in Thomas.
The Geneseo win evened the conference series at one game apiece after L-P’s 4-0 victory Monday in Geneseo.
With the loss, L-P falls to 14-5 overall and 9-3 in the NIB 12 West, while the Maple Leafs move to 18-8 and 7-5.
The rubber match of the three-game series will take place today in Geneseo.
“Give them the credit, they kept battling. They had a long bus trip over here and they could have easily given up,” L-P coach Matt Glupczynski said. “They got a couple runs early on Noah (Lamboley, L-P starting pitcher) and we fought back, but booted the ball around a little bit.
“They made some timely hits and we didn’t make plays and get timely hits — and that equals a loss.”
Geneseo got on the board first with a run in the second on its first squeeze bunt of the night — a well-placed shot from Alex Craig that brought in Thomas.
The Leafs added another pair of runs in a four-hit third to take a 3-0 advantage. Rayce Singbush swiped home on a throw to second from L-P intended to catch a stealing Michael Daniels, and Daniels later came in to score on an RBI grounder from Thomas.
The L-P bats came alive in the third.
Lead-off hitter Bret Storm set the table by reaching base on a bean ball from Geneseo starter Greg Rusk and was sent home by a hard-hit RBI double to center from No. 2 hitter Adam Happ.
Austin Smith kept the slugging going in the next at bat, drilling a home run to left field to knot the score at 3-3.
Andres Martinez kept the rally cruising with a two-out double to center, and next batter Max Strickland put L-P out in front with a bloop single to right to give the Cavs a 4-3 lead.
Geneseo took advantage of an L-P infield error in the fifth with Thomas’ second RBI single to tie the score at 4-4, but the Cavs answered with a run of their own set up by a Maple Leaf defensive miscue and added another tally on an RBI single from Nate Burris to stake a 6-4 lead.
Singbush pulled Geneseo within one at 6-5 in the top of the sixth with an RBI double to center that drove in Adam Stenzel, who reached on a hard-hit infield single that ricocheted of Gens’ glove.
Singbush finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a double and RBI. Thomas led the way for the Leafs with a 4-for-4, two-RBI showing.
Geneseo reliever John Dahl (2-0) picked up the win in relief.
Gens was charged the loss in relief for L-P. He allowed five hits over his three innings and gave up three runs — all unearned — with one walk and one strikeout.
Lamboley threw the first four innings for the Cavs and gave up three runs — all earned — off seven hits with three walks and one strikeout.
Smith finished 2-for-4 for L-P with a double, home run and two RBIs. Martinez was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Note: L-P honored seniors Storm, Happ, Smith, Kyle Jenkins, Kaleb Pytel and Justin Guerrero with a pre-game introduction.
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995 or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
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