The Purdue North Central baseball team used a thrilling finish to defeat Judson University 2-1 Tuesday afternoon in Whiting, IN in the first round of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic conference Tournament. Judson (44-10) entered the tournament as the #1 seed and the 16th ranked team in the country. PNC entered as the final seed at #6.
Sophomore Colin Willis broke for home with two outs, the bases loaded and two strikes on the batter in the top of the 9th inning for the winning run. Although Judson's pitcher threw the ball away for an apparent steal of home a balk was called on the play.
As if the game couldn't be more exciting, the Panthers got out of a bases loaded, no-out jam in the bottom of the 9th to end the game. After Judson loaded the bases senior Shane Prance induced a shallow fly ball to left for the first out and a 4-6-3 double play grounder to end it. Junior Greg Toliver made a game saving scoop at first base on the back end of the double play.
The story of the game to that point was the sensational pitching of freshman Jordan Polito. Polito allowed just 1 unearned run in 7.2 innings on 5 hits, a walk and a hit batter. Prance earned the victory with 1.1 scoreless innings in relief. He gave up 3 hits, hit a batter and struck out 1.
Both teams had 8 hits apiece with junior catcher Ched Gaskin leading all hitters with 3 hits. Willis added 2 hits and Toliver put the Panthers on the board in the 2nd inning with an RBI single. He plated senior Nate Hall who added a hit, a walk, a stolen base and threw out a runner at the plate for PNC.
The Panthers play again tomorrow night at 7 p.m. against the loser of #2 St. Francis and #5 St. Xavier in the 6-team double elimination tournament.