WINTER HAVEN, FLA. - On day two of the RussMatt Invitational, sophomore Jake Schaefer (Cinncinati, Ohio) connected for his second consecutive walk-off to propel the Panthers past Cabrini in exta innings, 6-5.
The sophomore provided the clutch hit in the bottom of the 12th inning as he sent the ball to right field scoring senior Mark Walkenhorst (Fort Thomas, Ky.) for the bench clearing run.
The Panthers finished with six runs on 10 hits led by Schaefer with three hits and two RBI. Teammate Charlie Burton (Columbus, Ind.) added two RBI on two hits.
The Panther pitching staff continued to dominate on the mound as junior Justin Pope (Fishers, Ind.), who pitched a complete game with 11 strikeouts in the team's Florida opener, passed the torch to freshman Charlie Joyce (Indianapolis, Ind.) who went four complete innings with four strikeouts. Senior Zach Chapman (Loveland, Ind.) claimed the win, surrendering just one hit.
Cabrini surged ahead early plating a run in the top of the first inning followed by a run in the second inning for the 2-0 advantage. However, the Blue and Red responded in the bottom half of the second inning as senior Brayden Imel (Barbourville, Ky.) connected for a lead off double before freshman Drew Kelly (Carmel, Ind.) tripled to right center scoring the Panthers first run.
The bottom of the third inning would see Hanover capture their first lead of the afternoon. Sophomore Andrew Littlefield (Louisville, Ky.) and Walkenhorst led off the inning with back-to-back walks before Burton doubled up the middle scoring two more Panther runs, 4-2. The final run of the inning came on the next at bat as Schaefer hit a double to center that scored Burton.
Hanover tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning as junior Matt Vetor (Pendleton, Ind.) placed a perfectly executed bunt down the left field line that loaded the bases. The run came on the next at bat as junior Zeke Porta (Louisville, Ky.) charted an RBI scoring Schaefer.
Cabrini attempted to strike in the next half inning as they were able to load the bases with two outs but senior Sam Crick (Seymour, Ind.) had other things in mind as he was able to get a ground out to second base retiring the side.
However, Cabrini would strike in the top of the eighth inning plating two runs on a Panther throwing error that knotted the contest at 5-5.
Both teams were held scoreless till the 12th inning that saw an exciting finish. The bottom half of the inning opened with a walk to Walkenhorst before Imel laid down a sacrafice bunt advancing the senior to second base. After an intenitonal walk to Burton, Schaefer reached the dish hitting a single to the outfield scoring the game winning run.
Hanover returns to action on Thursday, February 27 when they take on Alma. The game is slated for 2:00 PM.