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Howe hits winning 12th

-inning homer for TJ's

Timberjacks even series with 8-6 victory

Matt Howe's two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th inning lifted the Southern Oregon Timberjacks past Salem-Keizer 8-6 in Northwest League baseball Monday at Miles Field.

Howe connected for his ninth homer of the season on a 2-1 pitch off left-hander Brian Fields. Kirk Asche got the winning rally started with a one-out single before Jorge Soto struck out. Then Howe hit a blast over the scoreboard in left-center field.

The Timberjacks erased a 3-1 deficit with five unearned runs in the fifth inning. All the damage came after two were out.

Matt Forbes began things with a double and Volcanoes' starting pitcher Mark Hills was pulled after walking Asche. Reliever Zach Wells hit Soto to load the bases. Howe tapped a dribbler back to the mound that Wells muffed. First baseman Jermey Luster picked up the grounder but threw low past Wells covering first, allowing Forbes and Asche to score.

Josh Hochgesang, who joined the Timberjacks recently after signing late, made the Volcanoes pay for the mistake. Hochgesang crashed his first homer of the season, a three-run blast to left to give the TJs a 6-3 lead.

Sean McGowan cut Southern Oregon's lead to 6-5 with a two-run homer in the eighth. It was McGowan's 11th home run of the season.

Then Salem-Keizer tied the game in the ninth when Micah Holst and Ryan Luther hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and third. Guillermo Rodriguez followed with a popup in short left field. Timberjacks' shortstop Jason Clements couldn't make the running catch away from the plate, but recovered in time to throw out Luther on a force play at second.

Brian Mazur picked up the victory with one inning of hitless relief.

Southern Oregon maintained its 4-game lead over Portland, which defeated Eugene 9-2, in the NWL Southern Division.

The victory evens the three-game series with the Volcanoes at one apiece. The Timberjacks complete the series with Salem-Keizer at 7:05 tonight at Miles Field.