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Gard lifts baseball to walk-off win

Andre Gard playing baseball.

TUCSON, Ariz. – Tied 5-5 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Andre Gard stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter hoping to send the Hornets home with a walk-off win. He went down on strikes.

With another opportunity on the line in the 11th inning to send the Kalamazoo College baseball team home with a victory, though, Gard delivered  with a shot to the left field wall driving in Jordan Wiley for the 6-5 extra innings win.

"My first at bat [in the ninth], I kind of struggled a little bit," said Gard. "This at bat I was pretty determined I was going to drive the ball and nothing was going to stop me, so I took that approach at the plate and I knew something was going to happen."

In a game which the Hornets never led until the final at bat, Kalamazoo had to battle its way back into the ball game Thursday evening as Hamline jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second inning.

Despite early success from the Hamline bats, Hornet starting pitcher Ryan Orr settled in as the game progressed limiting Hamline to six hits in eight innings of work. He also recorded eight strikeouts.

Tossing the game over to the bullpen in the ninth, Steve Simmons restrained the Hamline offense giving up just one hit in two innings before Scott Zychowski came on in the top of the 11th ultimately earning the win.

Alex Fultz and Wiley each homered in the game, with Fultz driving one over the left field fence in the bottom of the forth followed by an inside-the-park round tripper three at bats later from Wiley.

The Hornets outhit Hamline, 11-7.

With the win Kalamazoo improves to 4-1 on the season and will continue its slate of games in Arizona on Saturday against Carthage. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. MST.