An eighth-inning rally to tie the game was erased in the ninth when Hamline drove home the eventual winning run in taking a 7-6 win from the University of Minnesota, Morris baseball team Wednesday at Cougar Field.
Trailing 6-2 heading into the eighth, Morris strung together four hits to even the score, capped by the first career homerun from Kylan Hill. Hill smashed a two-run homer over the left-centerfield fence to complete the rally, and end a six-inning scoring drought after taking a 2-0 lead in the first.
After the big hit to tie the game, Hill then unfortunately found himself on the wrong end of the go-ahead run just a half-inning later. With two outs and runners on first and second, Hill made an error on a ground ball to third, and the winning run came around to score.
The Pipers then worked a one-two-three ninth to close out the win.
Earlier in the eighth, the Cougars got their first two back when Gabe Grimley scored on an Eric Terres steal of second, and then Terres came home on a Dustin Sauter single up the middle.
Hamline opened up a 2-2 game with four runs over the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, which included a two-run triple in the seventh. The two teams finished the game with 12 hits each, the fourth highest total for the Cougars this season.
With a rare, single midweek nonconference game, the Cougars got a lot of action for their younger players, also letting the regulars get some rest with two UMAC series left. Chief among those was Hill, who went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored in just his seventh start of the season. Starting for only the fourth time was Gabe Grimley, who handled six pitchers behind the plate, while also finishing 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Eighteen total players saw time in the game, giving the Cougars their second best run total in a nonconference game all season.
Conference play resumes this weekend, back out at Cougar Field. Morris hosts Martin Luther in a crucial three-game series, starting with one nine-inning game on Friday at 3 p.m., before a doubleheader on Saturday at 12 noon.
The Cougars and Knights are currently tied in the UMAC standings, each three games out of a playoff spot with six conference games left to go