Empio does it all in South's 7-6 victory
ASHLAND-- Ashland got a double dose of Chris Empio in Southern Oregon Conference baseball Tuesday at Southern Oregon University.
The South Medford senior right-hander picked up the victory with a two-inning relief stint and delivered a seventh-inning single that scored the tying and go ahead runs as the Panthers defeated Ashland, 7-6, in a make-up of the second game of Saturday's doubleheader that was called because of rain.
The game got washed out in the bottom of the fourth inning with the score tied at 5.
South Medford (9-3, 3-1 SOC) has flirted with danger in all three of its conference wins, which have come by one-run margins.
The Panthers trailed the Grizzlies 6-3 after five and 6-4 entering the seventh.
We got lucky today, said South Medford coach Pete Whisler. If you're going to win, you have to have a little luck somewhere. Our pitching has kept us in games and that gives you a chance to win.
Empio entered the game when South starter Matt Skundrick walked Nate Monosoff to lead off the sixth. Empio worked out of a jam in the sixth, then retired the Grizzlies in order to record his fourth victory in five decisions. Empio allowed three hits, but struck out three.
We brought him (Empio) in when we needed them not to score again and that's what he did, said Whisler. He shut the door. He's been good for us all year.
Josh Tompkins began South's seventh-inning rally with a one out single. Tony Conklin got hit by a pitch and Jim Maddox walked to load the bases off Ashland sophomore pitcher Ryan Decker. Ryan Heil followed with a RBI groundout, then Empio looped a 1-2 pitch over shortstop Titus Weston's head for a two-run single.
The Panthers wouldn't have needed the late-inning rally if they would have come up with some timely hitting early. But South left seven runners on base, with six in scoring position, in the first three innings.
Ashland took advantage of getting its leadoff hitter on base in each of the first five innings and the Grizzlies scored in four of them.
...........210 001 — -- 7 12 2 Ashland
......................130 110 0 -- 6 9 1
Skundrick, Empio (6) and Shine; J. Allen, Decker (2), Ehlers (7) and George. W -- Empio (4-1). L -- Decker. 2B -- SM: Skundrick, Tompkins, Maddox, Shine; A: Rowe 2, Swallow. 3B -- A: Decker.
BUTTE FALLS 14-18, NORTH LAKE 9-17-- At Butte Falls, Travis Smeltz had five hits and six stolen bases over both games of a doubleheader sweep for Butte Falls.
In the nightcap Nick Rogers and Kale Freeman each had three hits. The Loggers totaled 17 hits for the game.
Isaac Stevenson swiped seven bases in the twin bill.
...............511 200 0 -- 9 11 6 Butte Falls
...............532 031 x -- 14 5 10
Griffith and Eide, Harton (2), Eide (3); Smeltz and Rogers. W -- Smeltz. L -- Griffith. 2B -- NL: Griffith 2; BF: Smeltz, Freeman.
................173 114 0 -- 17 18 — Butte
................260 253 x -- 18 17 5
Effingham and Ingersol; Stevenson, Hoel (2), Smeltz (5) and Sizemore, Stevenson (2). W -- Smeltz. L -- Effingham. 2B -- NL: Billagrams, Griffith 2, Effingham, Axon; BF: Rogers. 3B -- BF: Smeltz.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 5, ETNA 4-- At Etna, Calif., Bryan Edwards picked up the victory in relief and drove in what proved to be the winning run in the eighth inning with his fourth hit of the game as Cascade Christian remained undefeated with the non-confererence victory.
The Challengers (11-0) put together the winning rally when Kyle Stutzman singled with one-out in the eighth. Stutzman moved to second on a fielder's choice, then Nolan Roberts singled to put runners on 1-3. Edwards followed with a base hit to score the go-ahead run.
Edwards (6-0) pitched the final 2 innings, giving up one run and striking out three.
....................000 003 11 -- 5 13 — Etna
................................................000 201 10 -- 4 6 1
Beamish, Jenkins (4), Edwards (6) and Roberts; McLoughlin, Hughes (4), Bennett (7), Smith (8) and Detrick. W -- Edwards (6-0). L -- Smith. 2B -- E: Bennett, Smith.