The Milan Big Reds had prepared themselves to face the Carleton Airport Jets on Friday afternoon, hoping for a smooth victory before their home opener on Saturday. The Big Reds were in for a wild ride, as it took them 10 innings to defeat the Jets. Thanks to a pinch-hit double by Cody Brierley that sparked a five-run 10th, Milan defeated Airport 10-5.
Milan head coach Adam Gilles had plenty of praise for his players following the victory. “I tell you, even if we had lost, you can’t be too unhappy with the way the guys played,” he said. “We made some mistakes, but we’re hitting the ball like crazy. To be in this intimidating environment and come away with the victory is a good feeling.”
The Big Reds and Jets had a back-and-forth game during the regulation innings. Milan held a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th when the tide turned in the home team’s favor. A leadoff single by Bryce Cole and triple by Tyler Page tied the game at 4. The following batter, Jared Pingitore, reached base on an error, allowing Page to score and the Jets to take their first lead of the game.
Not to be outdone, Milan rallied to take the game to extra innings when Chase Riling hit a two-out single that scored Beau Hotz in the top of the 7th.
Each team squandered chances to score afterward, as the Jets hit into a double play with two runners on base in the bottom of the 8th and the Big Reds hit into a similar double play in the top half of the 9th.
The Big Reds had 17 of the game’s 27 hits, while Konrad Jeppesen – who gave the lead away in the 6th – threw four total innings and earned his first-ever varsity victory.
Milan (12-1) will take a 10-game win streak into their home doubleheader against the Plymouth Wildcats (6-3) tomorrow morning. The series is set to begin at 11 a.m.
“It will be fun to be in the friendly confines,” Gilles said. “Hopefully we can keep rolling.”
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Hit leaders: Hotz 4; Lindeman & C. Riling 3 each; Ferenczy & I. Grubke 2 each
RBI leaders: Three players with 2 RBIs each (I. Grubke, Allen, C. Riling)
Run leaders: Lindeman 3; Reed 2
Winning pitcher: Jeppesen (1-0) – 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 3 K – 19 batters faced
Losing pitcher: Page – 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R (6 ER), K – 24 batters faced