LAKEWOOD – Sunday was supposed to be a day off for BlueClaws shortstop Jonathan Villar.
Instead he found himself coming into the game as a pinch runner in the seventh before ending the same game eight innings later.
The BlueClaws (17-14) won in fifteen innings on Sunday, sending what was left of a Mothers Day crowd of 3,478 home happy after a four hour, 53 minute marathon of a game.
With one out in the fifteenth Darin Ruf singled to put the winning run on. Adam Buschini then hit a routine fly ball to right that Cesar Puello dropped to move Ruf up to second. Domingo Santana made the second out, grounding into a fielder’s choice to second, but Stephen Batts walked to load the bases and bring Villar to the plate.
For the second time in the 2010 season Villar ended the game on an unorthodox walk-off play: a bloop base hit that landed perfectly between the Savannah (19-12) left fielder, center fielder, and shortstop in shallow left-center field to secure a 12-11 win.
It was the first time the BlueClaws led all day.
Jordan Ellis (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings on his second straight day of work for the win. Michael Powers (0-2) allowed the unearned run in the fifteenth for his second loss.
For Villar it’s his second walk-off hit of the season. He ended an 11-inning game against Hagerstown on April 20th with a high chopper to second that he managed to beat out, scoring the winning run from third.
Neither starter lasted very long, putting a lot of pressure on each bullpen.
Jarred Cosart made his second start for the BlueClaws since returning from the disabled list and was tagged for five runs over four innings.
Darin Gorski had similar struggles for Savannah, allowing four runs on six hits in 3.1 innings.
With the BlueClaws trailing 2-1 through two innings the two teams scored seven runs apiece in the fourth and fifth.
The Gnats had a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom half of the fourth, but the BlueClaws would cut into the lead thanks to a two-run double by Domingo Santana and an RBI two-bagger by Torre Langley.
The BlueClaws then answered a four run Savannah fifth with four of their own to once again bring the deficit to one.
The Sand Gnats added an insurance run in the eighth, and the BlueClaws found themselves two down and three outs away from their second straight loss.
Domingo Santana led off the ninth with a walk and Stephen Batts singled to put two on with nobody out. Jonathan Villar sacrificed both runners in to scoring position, and Sebastian Valle delivered a double off the bench to tie the game at ten.
Savannah threatened to take back the lead in the top of the eleventh after Juan Lagares led off with a double, but Jacob Diekman and Josh Zeid combined to keep the score tied.
Savannah then took a one-run lead in the thirteenth, only to have Domingo Santana tie it with a base hit in the bottom half of the inning.
Monday at 6:35 pm LHP Nick Hernandez (2-1 1.98) will pitch for Lakewood against Savannah RHP Armondo Rodriguez (2-3, 3.45).
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