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Trojans Rally to Top Limestone in Baseball Season-Opener

The Anderson University baseball team rallied with two runs in the bottom of the 12th inning to claim a dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind season-opening win past Limestone Thursday afternoon at Anderson Memorial Stadium.  
Junior centerfielder Jonathan Romano ignited the two-out rally by beating out an infield single to shortstop, his second hit of the afternoon. Fellow junior Thomas Padro followed by blasting a double to right field, scoring Romano and advanced to third on the throw to the plate. Third baseman Blake May stepped to the plate looking for his first hit of the contest and cooly ripped a single through the right side of the infield to plate Padro with the game-winning run as the Trojan dugout erupted to celebrate on the infield.
Anderson (1-0) jumped out to an early two-run lead after just one inning of play on the 42-degree afternoon, as Romano led off with a double to left field. Two outs later, Ryan Saxon singled to left to plate Romano and following Erick Sanderson’s walk, right-fielder Ryan Kirkland singled to left to give AU a 2-0 advantage after one inning.
Limestone (1-0) answered with a solo run in the top of the second inning, as Jake Rierson and David Christy combined for one-out back-to-back doubles, but Anderson starter Brett Campbell worked out of the jam by getting a strikeout and inducing designated hitter Chad Balderman to bounce out to third.   
After threatening again in the fifth, the Saints broke through to even the score in the sixth frame when Zach Howard led off the inning with a walk and took advantage of an AU error one out later to cross the plate with the tying run.
The Trojans nearly ended the contest in the 10th inning as Romano was hit by a pitch with two outs, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but AU was unable to capitalize.   
The Saints took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 12th inning after lead-off hitter Al Benson doubled over the head of the AU centerfielder and moved to third on a sacrifice fly to right field. He crossed the plate with the go-ahead run when a balk was called with two outs, setting up the Trojan comeback heroics in the bottom of the inning, just beating the freezing rain that moved into the Upstate at the conclusion of the game.
Five Trojan pitchers combined to give up seven hits on the afternoon, with Campbell working five complete innings and scattering five hits, while surrendering just two runs. Marsh Kowalski, Jacob Saxon and Justin Rogers each worked two innings of hitless relief, with senior hurler Elliott Tolley earning the win by tossing the top of the 12th inning.
Romano and first baseman Erick Sanderson each notched two hits, while Padro was 1-for-4 with two walks.
The Trojans worked 10 Mars Hill pitchers for nine hits in six innings, saddling sophomore Tyler Weaver with the loss after allowing two runs off three hits in the final frame.
Anderson will get back on the diamond this weekend, visiting Peach Belt-foe UNC Pembroke for a three-game series, starting with a twinbill on Saturday. First-pitch is slated for 2 p.m.

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