Danville swept Hannibal in a pair of seven-inning games in a doubleheader Wednesday evening at Danville Stadium. Danville won both games by the score of 3-2.
The Dans won the nightcap in dramatic fashion, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Austin Nola got the rally started with a lead-off single and advanced to third with two outs. Dabo Worthington then lined a clutch single into left with to tie the contest, and two batters later pinch hitter Richie Goodenow singled to center for the win.
Game two was a pitcher’s duel in the early going. The game remained scoreless into the sixth inning, as Hannibal pitcher Jon Gulbransen and Danville hurler Codie Rollins were terrific. Gulbransen allowed just one hit in his first four innings of work and retired eight in a row at one point. The only Danville runner get into scoring position in the first four innings was Ryan Van Amburg, who singled to right with two outs in the second and advanced to third when Cavemen right fielder mishandled the ball. But Gulbransen retired Jason Hamm on a strikeout to keep zeroes on the board.
Rollins matched Gulbransen, throwing four scoreless innings and running into his only real trouble in the fourth inning, when he got in a bases-loaded, one-out jam. But Rollins got out of the inning unscathed when he caught Bryce Tafelski looking for strike three and retired Tommy Diibon on a groundout.
Gulbransen got out of a jam of his own in the fifth. With runners at first and second and one out, he induced a foul pop-up off the bat of Austin Nola. Danville’s Lewellyn then got on via an infield single up the middle, but Van Amburg, running from second on the play, was gunned down at the plate trying to steal a run.
Hannibal got in the board in the sixth inning. After two singles and a walk loaded the base with no outs, Bryce Tafelski grounded a ball to short, where Danville’s Nola muffed it for an error, allowing the first run to score. Tommy Diibon followed with a pop-up to right center that deflected off the glove of Mahtook, the Danville center fielder. He threw to second for a force-out, but another run scored to give Hannibal a 2-0 lead.
Danville got a run back in their half of the sixth on an Austin Green RBI single and had a chance to go ahead with the bases loaded and two outs later in the inning. But Johnson’s liner to right was grabbed by a sliding Burton in right field to end the inning and preserve the Hannibal lead for just an inning, until Danville won it with late heroics.
Gulbransen allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision. He struck out seven, allowed four hits and walked three. James Hudelson took the loss for Hannibal, allowing two runs in 1 1/3 innings. Ryan Cabral got the win for Danville, throwing 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
In game one, Hannibal opened the scoring with a run in the top of the second without a hit. Kyle Gaedele walked to lead off the inning and quickly stole second. After advancing to third on a groundout, he scored on Matt Burton’s RBI groundout to first to give the Cavemen a 1-0 lead.
That advantage didn’t last long, though, as the Dans scored a run of their own in the bottom half. Three walks sandwiched around a pair of outs loaded the bases, and Danville’s Byron Williams came through with a single to center to tie it at one apiece.
Danville tallied another run in the third inning, when Mikie Mahtook led off with a double to left-center field and scored on a Nate Johnson single to right. The Dans missed an excellent chance to extend the lead in the fourth, as they loaded with no outs. But Hannibal starter Karl Whitley dug deep to get out of the jam, retiring Williams on a foul pop-up, Frank Rawdow on a fielder’s choice and Mahtook on a pop-up to second base to get out of the inning unharmed.
The Cavemen tied it in the fifth inning. A walk, a hit by pitch and wild pitch put runners on the corners, and with one out Ashley Graeter singled in Brett Frantini. But Hannibal also squandered any further scoring chances on the play, as Frantini got caught in a rundown between first and second while trying to advance on the throw in. The Danville fielders soon abandoned that rundown to get Curtis Ford, who was running from first on the play. Ford reached third and tried for home before getting tagged out in a rundown for the rarely seen 9-6-3-4-5-2-1 putout.
Danville scored the deciding run in the last of the sixth. Chris Lewellyn led off and reached when his bunt was bobbled by Cavemen first baseman Grant Dozar for an error. Two out later, Lewellyn stole second, and he scored when Johnson, who finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs, lined a single to left.
Danville starter Jacob Lee held Hannibal pitched effectively, giving up two runs in 4 2/3 innings on just one hit while walking three. Greg Houston threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to get the victory, and Brett Huber picked up the save with a scoreless seventh. Whitley allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings and got a no-decision. Hannibal reliever Justin Lucas took the loss, allowing a run in 1 1/3 innings.
With the sweep, Danville is now 21-18. The Dans and Cavemen play again Thursday in Danville.