Kruer's Solo Shot in the 17th Keeps Baseball's A-10 Tournament Hopes Alive; Defeat No. 1 Rhode Island, 6-5
May 26, 2006
BRONX, NY - George Washington University sophomore leftfielder Charlie Kruer (Old Bridge, NJ) hit a solo home run to lead off the top of the 17th inning to give the Colonials a thrilling 6-5 victory against top-seeded Rhode Island Thursday in what was the longest game in Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship history at Jack Coffey Field at Houlihan Park on the campus of Fordham University. Junior RHP Derek Haese (Littleton, CO) pitched the final 9.0 innings of the game, shutting out the Rams while striking out five to earn the win.
Rhode Island is the third team eliminated by the Colonials in as many days. The 17-inning marathon marked the longest game in the 27-year history of the A-10 Baseball Championship. The previous record was 14 innings, set in 1990 when Rutgers defeated Massachusetts, 8-7. The 17 inning affair also is believed to be the longest game in GW history as well.
GW, now winners of seven of its last 10 games, has knocked out the Nos. 4, 3 and 1 seeds in consecutive contests at the tournament. Kruer, meanwhile, hit his second game-winning home run in a week. His two-out three-run blast on the final day of the regular season clinched the No. 6 seed in the Championship for the Colonials.
Haese managed to escape trouble several times in extra innings, as the Rams stranded runners in scoring position in the 11th, 13th, 16th and 17th innings.
Following single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to climb back into the game, GW entered the ninth trailing 5-3. Freshman Doug Eizen (Philadelphia, PA) began the Colonials' rally with a one-out bloop single just inside the right field line, which was immediately followed by a single from third baseman Tom Shanley (Stanfordville, NY) to put runners on the corners.
Kruer stepped up and delivered GW's third straight single of the inning to plate Matt Boyd (Rockville, MD), who came on to pinch run for Eizen, to cut the deficit to a single run at 5-4. A wild pitch moved Kruer to second and Shanley to third, which set the table for Mickey Shupin (Sea Girt, NJ) who lifted a fly ball to right field just deep enough to plate Shanley and send the game into extra innings.
The Rams jumped all over the Colonials early with a four-run second inning, highlighted by a bases clearing double off the bat of shortstop Mike O'Malley. One batter later, a sacrifice fly allowed O'Malley to score to make it 4-0 at the time.
The Colonials began to chip away at the Rams' lead in the sixth when a fielder's choice from Shupin plated Shanley, who led off the frame with a single, to make it 5-1.
GW manufactured its second run of the game in the seventh as Michael Parker drew a one-out walk, stole second and third, and later scored a sacrifice fly from Shanley. In the eighth, Abokhair's one-out double scored Matt Owens (Fayetteville, GA), who reached on a single and later stole second, to make it 5-3.
Freshman starter Pat Lehman (Fairlawn, NJ) turned in a stellar performance on the mound to keep the Colonials within striking distance. He allowed five runs - four in the second inning - on nine hits in 8.0 innings of work with three strikeouts for a no decision. After the fifth inning in which URI scored its fifth run, Lehman retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced before giving way to Haese in the ninth.
Shanley, Kruer and Owens each finished with three hits in the game, while Kruer and Shupin each had two RBI apiece.