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May 2, 2009

2009 Season - Ramos delivers game winner against Titans

Mark Ramos (United Township HS, East Moline, Ill.) delivered some ninth inning heroics to give Augustana a 9-8 victory over Illinois Wesleyan in game one of a College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin double header on Saturday, May 2. Ramos delivered a one out single with the bases loaded to break an 8-8 tie with Mike Lamb (Ottawa HS, Ottawa, Ill.) scoring the winning run.

In the night cap the Titans scored seven runs in the top of the first inning and went on to post a 9-3 victory. Augustana is now 23-15 overall and 10-10 in the CCIW while Illinois Wesleyan is 23-11 and 14-6.

GAME 1 – Augustana 9, Illinois Wesleyan 8

After watching Illinois Wesleyan score five runs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game at 8-8, the Vikings produced the winning run in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the frame. Mark Ramos (United Township HS, East Moline, Ill.) has been sidelined with a foot injury but he was called on to pinch hit with the bases loaded and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth. Wearing tennis shoes instead of spikes, Ramos drilled and offering by Wesleyan reliever Marty Roche into left center field to score Mike Lamb (Ottawa HS, Ottawa, Ill.) with the winning run.

Lamb led off the ninth with a single to left field and then Michael Barker (Grandview HS, Centennial, Colo.) put down a sacrifice bunt that was misplayed for an error. That put runners on first and second with nobody out. John Wagle (Rock Island HS, Rock Island, Ill.) sacrificed Lamb to third and Barker to second. John Vezzetti (LaSalle Peru HS, Peru, Ill.) was intentionally walked and Ramos was called on to pinch hit for Joe Moran (Niles Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.). That set the stage for Ramos’ dramatic ending.

Illinois Wesleyan jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. The Vikings came back and scored a single run in the bottom of the inning when Vezzetti walked and Eric Izzo (Lockport HS, Lockport, Ill.) doubled him home.

In the bottom of the second Augustana struck for four unearned runs off Titan starter Joe Froelich. Mike Trotta (Niles Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) singled with one out and went to third on a double by Lamb. Barker’s ground ball was thrown away at the plate as Wesleyan tried to cut down Trotta. On the play Lamb went to third and Barker wound up on second. Wagle’s ground ball produced an RBI as Lamb scored and Barker moved to third. Vezzetti’s single to left scored Barker. Izzo’s single pushed Vezzetti around to third and Vezzetti scored on a single to left by Dave Hoffman (Cary Grove HS, Cary, Ill.).

The Titans scored a single run in the top of the fifth to make it 5-3 but Augustana put two runs on the board in the bottom of the seventh on RBI singles by T.J. O’Donnell (New Trier HS, Northbrook, Ill.) and Wagle. In the eighth O’Donnell drove in Aaron Hopson (Rockford Boylan HS, Rockford, Ill.) to make it 8-3.

Wesleyan tied the game with five runs in the top of the ninth with the big blow being a three run home run off the bat of Kraig Ladd.

Augustana starter Matt Erickson (Marmion Academy, Channahon, Ill.) survived a shaky first inning and pitched well into the ninth. He had seven strikeouts and just one walk. Mike Pagano (Niles Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) gave up the tying home run to Ladd but recovered to retire the next two batters in the ninth and he got the victory.

The Vikings pounded three Titan pitchers for 17 hits with Lamb leading the way with three. Izzo, Hoffman, Hopson, O’Donnell and Trotta each had two.

GAME 2 – Illinois Wesleyan 9, Augustana 3

The Titans jumped all over Augustana starter Mike Pagano (Niles Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) and put seven runs on the board in the first inning. The Vikings could never recover from that and fell 9-3 in the second game of the double header. Grant Loiselle (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Normal, Ill.) was certainly a bright spot for Augustana as he pitched seven innings in relief and gave up two runs on four hits while striking out 10.

Three Illinois Wesleyan pitchers limited the Vikings to just six hits in the game with John Wagle (Rock Island HS, Rock Island, Ill.) and Joe Moran (Niles Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) each getting two. Dave Hoffman (Cary Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) hit his first home run of the season for Augustana in the eighth inning.