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May 14, 2009

Choate's walk-off gives Eagles tournament opening win

Box Score: Southern Indiana 4, Northern Kentucky 3


CHILLICOTHE, Ohio University of Southern Indiana junior pitcher/designated hitter Tyler Choate (Carmi, Illinois) hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Screaming Eagles a 4-3 victory to open the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Thursday evening in Chillicothe, Ohio. The regional is being played at the V.A. Memorial Stadium, the home of the Frontier League's Chillicothe Paints.

The Eagles continue regional play Friday at 5 p.m. (CST) when they play the fifth-seeded University of Indianapolis. Indianapolis (41-19) won its opening game over second-seeded Grand Valley State University, 5-4, on a three-run home run in the top of the ninth.

After spotting the Norse a 3-0 lead with a tally in the first and two more in the sixth, the Eagles came to life in the bottom of the seventh and tied the game 3-3. Junior first baseman Caleb Ehmke (Waterloo, Indiana) started the rally with a single up the middle and scored USI's first run of the game on a RBI-double by senior centerfielder Royle Beach (Aurora, Colorado).

Beach cut the NKU lead to 3-2 when he scored on an RBI-single by freshman second baseman Brad Vance (Louisville, Kentucky). Vance advanced to second on a two-out walk to Choate and scored the tying run all the way from second on a fielder's choice and a dropped throw by the NKU second baseman.


The score remained tied until the bottom of the ninth when Choate hit his team-best ninth of the season.

On the mound, sophomore Trevor Leach (Danville, Indiana) increased his school-record mark to 11-0 with his eighth win out of the bullpen. He allowed one hit in two-thirds of an inning to get the victory.

Leach was aided in the win by sophomore catcher Dylan Mooney (St. Charles, Missouri), who got the Eagles out of a first-and-third, one-out jam by picking off a runner at third base on a failed safety-squeeze. He finished off the Norse in the ninth with a strike out.

Choate started the game for the Eagles and got a no-decision. He allowed six hits, three runs, and five walks, while striking out three in 8.1 innings of work.

The double-elimination Midwest Regional continues through Sunday.

Ray Simmons, USI Sports Information

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