Herald-Whig

Purcell, Hightower power QU to come-from-behind victory

Quincy University left fielder Chandler Purcell
By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
Posted: Mar. 10, 2019 7:30 pm Updated: Mar. 10, 2019 7:36 pm

QUINCY -- After Quincy University center fielder Nolan Snyder led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a single, Rockhurst coach Gary Burns summoned senior right-hander Daniel Kolb from the bullpen to preserve a two-run lead.

Chandler Purcell ruined that plan.

Purcell jacked a two-run home run to right field on the second pitch Kolb threw, and Quincy catcher Jeff Hightower completed the rally with a walk-off infield single as QU opened its first Great Lakes Valley Conference series with a 7-6 victory Sunday at QU Stadium.

"We stole one," Quincy coach Josh Rabe said. "I knew it. Coach Burns knows we stole one from them, but hey, we'll take it."

The teams will complete the three-game set with a doubleheader Monday. Senior right-hander Nick Stroud will throw for Quincy (8-2, 1-0 GLVC) in the opener, while senior left-hander Aaron Stone will follow in the nightcap.

"Hopefully those guys set the tone and come out pumping strikes," Rabe said.

Any maybe the offense will get started a little quicker.

Quincy had just six hits through six innings and trailed 6-2 going to the bottom of the seventh. An RBI single by Purcell in the seventh got one run back, and Hightower hit the second of his two solo home runs in the eighth to trim the deficit to two.

Quincy reliever Karl Hirsch tossed a scoreless top of the ninth, setting up the dramatic ending.

Snyder's leadoff single was his second time on base, and Purcell paid close attention to Kohl's entrance.

"He was just spinning breaking balls his entire warmup," Purcell said. "I just told myself, 'You're not swinging at anything other than a breaking ball. Just see one over the plate and let your swing take care of the rest.'"

Kohl started Purcell with a first-pitch fastball for a strike.

"I was like, 'Here it comes now,'" Purcell said.

Kohl threw a slider that hung over the plate.

"I didn't miss it," Purcell said.

Burns went back to the bullpen, and Quincy's Carter Naughton greeted reliever Jonathan Fink by reaching on an error by the left fielder. After Cody Birdsong grounded out and Michael Nielsen was intentionally walked, freshman designated hitter Lance Logsdon drove a sacrifice fly to deep center field that moved both runners up.

Hightower followed by bouncing a ball over the pitcher's mound that went for an infield single and allowed Naughton to score the winning run.

Hightower finished 4 for 5 with three RBIs, while Purcell was 3 for 5 with three RBIs.

"I told the guys when we were down 6-2 in the sixth or seventh inning just don't quit now," Purcell said. "Just keep going and it will play itself out."

 

Quincy 7, Rockhurst 6

Rockhurst 102 100 200--6 10 2

Quincy 100 100 113--7 11 0

Thigpen, Fletcher (6), Kohl (9), Fink (9) and Ellefson; Martin, Hurayt (7), Hirsch (8) and Hightower. WP--Hirsch (1-0). LP--Fink (0-1). 2B--Rockhurst 4 (Kraus, Huston, Mark, Ellefson), Quincy 2 (Purcell, Birdsong). HR--Quincy 3 (Hightower 2, Purcell).