The Danville Dans used a furious late-inning rally to come from behind and defeat the Springfield Sliders 8-7 on Saturday evening at Danville Stadium.
The Dans, who trailed 7-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, scored in each of the last four innings, capping their win with a lone run in the bottom of the ninth on Austin Green’s one-out single to right that scored Austin Nola, who led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt.
Danville tied the game in a wild eighth inning that featured three runs, two errors, an ejection and a double play. The inning got started when Chris Lewellyn walked, and Richie Goodenow followed with a routine grounder that got past Sliders first baseman Dennis Vaughn. After a sac fly made the score 7-5, Nate Johnson singled and Dabo Worthington doubled, cutting the deficit to 7-6 and putting runners at second and third.
A walk to Ryan Van Amburg loaded the bases, and it appeared Danville tied it when a 3-1 pitch to Jason Hamm was high and initially not signaled a strike by the home plate umpire. But after the ump raised his hand belatedly to call a strike – prompting Danville manager Pete Paciorek to argue and get ejected – Hamm hit a slow roller to up the middle that was booted by Sliders shortstop Trevor Adams to tie the game at seven. Cody Yount then grounded into a double play to end the inning and set up the last-inning heroics.
Mark Lamm picked up the win for Danville by throwing a scoreless ninth inning. Swank took the loss, throwing 1 1/3 innings and allowing four runs, two of which were earned. Danville starter Matt Smith struggled, going just three innings and allowing five runs on six hits. Springfield controlled the game early behind starter Phil Schreiber, who allowed two runs in six innings.
The Sliders took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single by Adams. The Dans responded quickly, tying the contest at one in the bottom half when Nola drew a bases-loaded walk after a lengthy at-bat.
But Springfield scored the next six runs with a trio of two-run innings. In the third, Sean Finucane led off with a single and scored on Josh Parr’s RBI double. Parr then came around on a Ryan Mooney single for to give the Sliders a 3-1 lead.
Adams ignited Springfield in the next two innings. In the fourth, he tripled into the right-field corner to plate Scott Thornburg, and two batters later another Finucane single made it 5-1. One frame later, Adams again hit an RBI triple and scored to give Springfield a 7-1 lead.
Danville slowly chipped away at the lead, though. After one-out singles by Van Amburg and Hamm in the sixth inning, a Yount RBI groundout cut the deficit to 7-2. Yount again came through in the seventh, when he drove a two-out, two-run single into left field to make it a 7-4 ballgame.
Until late, the Dans couldn’t fully capitalize on all their chances. In addition to leaving two runners stranded to end the seventh inning, Danville left the bases loaded in the second, fifth and sixth innings. A big reason was the play of TJ Blanton in center field for the Sliders. He ran down a rocket off the bat of Nate Johnson to end the bottom of the fifth, and an inning later he one-upped himself with a sliding catch on Richie Goodenow’s sinking liner.
Adams went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs for Springfield, and Parr was 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Nate Johnson led the Danville offense, going 3-for-5 with three runs and an RBI. Yount had three RBIs.
With the win, Danville improves to 17-17 on the year.