Aurora, Ill. - August 2, 2020 - Coming off an impressive performance, the Vikings (14-13) faced off against the second place DuPage County Hounds (18-7). A game labeled as must win for the Vikings to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Vikings offense stepped up but the bullpen had it’s troubles as the Hounds walked it off in the ninth inning winning 9-8.
Right out of the gate, the Vikings offense scored in the first inning. Dashon Moore (Illinois-Springfield/South Holland, Ill.) led the inning with a walk, advancing to second on a pass ball. Dylan Robertson (Iowa Western/Downers Grove, Ill.) singled to center field scoring Moore for his 18 RBI of the season, 1-0 Vikings. Consecutive singles by Matt Monahan (St. Xavier/New Lenox, Ill.) and Logan Anderson (South Suburban/Frankfort, Ill.) loaded the bases with no outs. Nick McAlister (Southern Illinois/Homewood, Ill.) lined a single to center field scoring Monahan and Anderson, 3-0 Vikings.
The Hounds came right back with four runs in the second inning taking an early 4-3 lead.
Down by one, the Vikings were able to tie the game. With singles by Monahan and Jake Schroeder (Northern Illinois/Flossmoor, Ill.) and Anderson reaching by error the bases were loaded with no outs. McAlister drove a ball to deep right field for a sac fly, scoring Monahan tying it at 4-4.
Chris Miller (Heartland/Plainfield, Ill.) started the game for the Vikings. Miller had some trouble in the early innings but was able to keep the game close after. Four of the five innings Miller threw, were shut out innings. He finished at five innings, three hits, four runs, four strikeouts.
Tied up at four the Vikings kept the hot bats up in the sixth inning. McAlister for his third hit led the inning off with a single. Jason Reis (Illinois Wesleyan/Highland, Ill.) scorched a ball to left field scoring McAlister for a double and advancing to third on the throw, 5-4 Vikings. Reis later'd scored on a passed ball extending the lead, 6-4. Dane Thomas (Wright State/Chicago, Ill.) got a hold of a baseball with a no doubt solo home run to right field for his first of the year and a 7-4 Vikings lead.
Disaster struck in the seventh inning as the Hounds used three walks, two errors, and two hits to score four runs and take a late 8-7 lead.
Three outs remaining, the Vikings needed one run to extend the game. After a Monahan error, putting him at second base and a Anderson fly ball advancing Monahan to third, McAlister stepped to the plate with two outs. McAlister singled to left field for his fourth hit and fourth RBI scoring Monahan tying the game at 8-8 in the ninth.
The Hounds didn’t waste any time as the first pitch in the bottom of the ninth was a walk off home run for Kevin Garcia giving the Hounds a 9-8 win.
“Our bullpen is just thin and it came back to bite us today,” Vikings manager Rocco Mossuto said. “Our offense played great. We scored eight runs and had clutch hitting in the ninth. We’ll be fine but this past week with our bullpen being thin we’ve lost three games like this, this week.”
The Vikings return to the field Monday, August 3 against the Northwest Indiana Oilmen (18-7). The game will be at Dowling Park located in Hammond, Ind. and the first pitch is 5 p.m. The broadcast will be available on the Northwest Indiana Oilmen Facebook Page via Facebook Live. Branond Vickrey, Andrew Fish, and Jack Theil will have the call for the game.