VANCOUVER – The No. 24-ranked UBC Thunderbirds scored all of their runs in the final two innings to complete a comeback 6-5 victory over the host Menlo College Oaks in Atherton, Calif., on Friday afternoon in non-conference NAIA baseball action.
Cam Firth (London, Ont.) went 3-for-5 with three runs batted in to pace the UBC offence. Third baseman Kevin Biro (Deep Bay, B.C.) also went 3-for-5 and had one RBI.
Down 5-3, the Thunderbirds had one more chance to earn the victory in the top of the ninth inning and they took advantage of two Oaks errors to bring three runs, all unearned, across.
Catcher Brody Hawkins (Delta, B.C.) reached base on a throwing error by Menlo third baseman Riley Drongesen to open the ninth. Bryan Arthur (Abbotsford, B.C.) then came on to pinch run for Hawkins. The next batter, T-Bird first baseman Bruce Yari (Waterloo, Ont.), also reached on an error, this time via a missed catch by Oaks left fielder Chris Freeman, which also allowed Arthur to get to third.
On the ensuing play, designated hitter Firth cleared the bases with a double to deep left centre to tie the game at 5-5.
Biro got a bunt single and moved Firth over to third. Griff Goyer (Burnaby, B.C.) entered as a pinch hitter and singled to shallow left to score Firth for what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Pitcher Curtis Taylor (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to record his third save of the season.
The UBC comeback began in the eighth inning as the T-Birds got on the scoreboard with three runs after going down 4-0.
Both innings were quite similar in how they played out. Hawkins got on base to lead off after getting hit by a pitch, and was then replaced by Arthur as a pinch runner. Yari then singled to short before scoring on Firth’s double deep down the right field line.
Biro stepped up to the plate and tripled to deep centre to bring Firth around. Pinch hitter Brendan Rose (Calgary) closed the gap to just a single run (4-3) when his groundout scored Biro.
Reliever Brad Smith (Vancouver) earned his first career win at the university level after going .2 innings. Starter Alex Graham (North Vancouver) didn’t get a decision after giving up three runs in five innings. Reliever Anthony Duen (Markham, Ont.) also saw action, surrendering two runs in 2.1 innings of work.
The Thunderbirds are now 14-5 on the season and with the rally on Friday, their winning streak is now at five games.
UBC will stay in the Silicon Valley to finish off its eight-game California tomorrow as they play Oregon Tech in a neutral-site matchup in Atherton, Calif.