Game Changer

Vikings start off season with comeback victory

The Southland Vikings scored four runs in the eighth inning to pull out a come-from-behind win in their first game of the season against the Chicago Zephyrs, 7-6.

The Vikings got off to a quick start in the first inning thanks to back-to-back singles by Damon Saunders and Joey Migliaccio. After Alec Ornelas was walked and Dan Eliopulos hit a fielder's choice, Chris Stevens knocked in two runs via an error on Zephyr shortstop Ryan Richardson.

But in the top of the 2nd, the Zephyrs got one back due to a double by Luke Collins followed by an RBI single from Zach Copple. In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Migliaccio led off with a solo home run giving the Vikings a 3-1 lead. Then things got a little weird. Ornelas hit a single but was doubled off on Eliopulos' fly out. While there were only two outs, the teams changed sides and because of that, Stevens never got an at bat.

The fifth inning was huge for the Zephyrs as they scored four runs and forced the exit of Vikings' starting pitcher Jason Ziegler who ended with seven hits, four earned runs and five strikeouts. The Southland Vikings found themselves down 5-3.

After a couple innings of scoreless play, the Chicago Zephyrs added one more run in the top of the eighth giving them a 6-3 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, the Vikings made their comeback. Migliaccio started with a bunt single, then Ornelas was walked. After Eliopulos flew out, Stevens was also walked making it bases load with one out. With Jessie Wiggins up to bat, Migliaccio scored thanks to a pass ball. After Wiggins was walked, the Vikings scored again from a pass ball cutting the deficit to one run. Micah Rooke was then walked and Ryan March narrowly avoided a double play thus allowed Stevens to score and tie the game up. Elliott Armstrong then hit an infield single, which scored Wiggins and put the Vikings on top for good.

The top of the 9th went smoothly for pitcher Jonathon Rosario who got all three batters out and gave the Vikings a 7-6 win. Reliever Tyler Willis picked up the win, finishing with two innings pitched, two hits, one earned run and one strikeout. Leading the way offensively was Migliaccio who went 3-4 with one RBI. The Southland Vikings are back in action on Sunday when they take on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen.

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