Long homer walks off game one, Hartman dominates in game two start
On a hot and humid night, the O’Fallon Hoots (18-19, 3-7) welcomed the Normal CornBelters (19-19, 4-7) to CarShield Field on Thursday night for doubleheader action. It was a pitcher’s duel in the first game, but Michael Long came through with the timely hit and walked off game one 4-2 in favor of the Hoots.
Game two was dominated by O’Fallon starting pitcher Pierce Hartman, who struck out seven batters throughout five innings. The offense gave their starting arm plenty of run support as the Hoots completed the doubleheader sweep, winning game two 7-2.
Game One – Hoots Win 4-2
Inside the Box Score
- Michael Long was the hero of the game. His second home run in as many straight games drove in the winning run for the Hoots.
- Tyler Ferguson, playing in his first home game as a Hoot, and Maloy Heaghney provided the other RBIs for the Hoots.
- Noah Arras was excellent in the start, going five innings deep while allowing just two hits and no earned runs.
How it Happened
- Despite a good inning from Hoots starter Noah Arras, Normal got on the board first. Tyler Castro reached on an error, advanced to second on a groundout, and then scored on a single from Peyton Dillingham to give the Cornbelters a 1-0 lead.
- O’Fallon found their response in the bottom of the third. Tyson Ludwig started things off with a walk and then stole both second and third base. Tyler Ferguson then flew out to left field, driving in Ludwig and tying the game up at 1-1.
- The Hoots took advantage of some shaky pitching to take the lead in the fourth. Three straight walks to start the inning loaded the bags, and one more walk to Maloy Heaghney pushed Chase Beattie across home plate to score a run and give O’Fallon a 2-1 lead.
- It would take until the sixth inning, and an O’Fallon pitching change, for the CornBelters to score again. With two outs, Ben Karpowicz took Kaden Joggerst deep to knot the match up at 2-2.
- It could come down to the bottom of the seventh. Nick Harms led off by being hit in the head by a pitch, but that would prove largely inconsequential, as the next batter, Michael Long, launched a ball into the Hoots’ bullpen to walk off the game for O’Fallon, 4-2.
Game Two – Hoots Win 7-2
Inside the Box Score
- Pierce Hartman strikes out seven batters over five scoreless innings on the mound.
- Jack Meyer batted in three of the Hoots’ seven runs.
- Nick Harms hits his team-leading eighth home run on the season.
- Michael Long stayed hot at the plate following his walk-off home run in game one; Long picked up two hits and an RBI in game two.
How it Happened
- The Hoots kept the momentum from game one into game two, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Meyer scored Tyson Ludwig on a sacrifice flyout. Later in the inning, Long hit an RBI double, scoring Nick Harms on the play.
- Meyer and Ludwig struck again in the bottom of the second inning, as Meyer delivered an RBI single to score Ludwig, making it 3-0 Hoots.
- The Meyer-Ludwig duo found success again in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Jack Meyer hit an RBI double to bring Ludwig in to score.
- In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Hoots extended their lead to 5-0 on an RBI single by Tucker Platt that scored Jake Vitale.
- Tyler Castro put Normal on the board with an RBI single in the top of the sixth inning to make it 5-1.
- Nick Harms got O’Fallon their run back in the bottom of the sixth inning on a solo home run to right field. Drew Mize added an insurance run on a sacrifice flyout to score Long, giving the Hoots the 7-1 advantage.
- Normal gave their best comeback effort in the top of the seventh inning as the CornBelters scored one run in the inning from an RBI double by Peter Johnson, but that was all Normal was able to scratch back.
O’Fallon and Normal are not done just yet, as the two will face off once more tomorrow, July 14, at 6:35 p.m. CST. Coverage can be found at ofallonhoots.com, as well as the team’s Twitter (@ofallonbaseball) and Instagram (ofallonhoots).