April 28, 2012
CL Game 22

Tigers (Sposato Homes)   6

Diamondbacks (Cocco's Pizza)   0

The Tigers broke open a tightly contested defensive battle with four runs in the fifth en route to a 6-0 win over the Diamondbacks.

Chase Nangle (two runs scored, two-run triple), Nate Hall (two runs scored, RBI single) and Andrew Kirkpatrick (two-run single) each went 2 for 2 to lead a Tigers offense that pounded out 18 hits. Meanwhile, Brendan Hefferan launched a triple and had a second hit stolen from him when the D'backs' Sam Davenport and Joey Cornacchia connected on a sensational play.

Defensive stalwarts Sean O'Shea and Jaden Jauregui made some crucial putouts for the Tigers to help hold the Diamondbacks' offense in check.

For the D'backs, in addition to setting an exceptional example for her teammates with her unwavering passion and team-first attitude, Lizzy Gibian got a base hit and made three outstanding plays in the field to earn a game ball.

Cornacchia, Nicholas Corritore, Luke Mersch and Blayke Reid each singled for the Diamondbacks. And Cornacchia would have been 2 for 2 if not for a great play by the right side of the Tigers infield, while the D'backs' Jake McDowell and Milan Hortua also hit the ball hard but were each robbed of a base hit.

Although the Tigers threatened throughout the game, the Diamondbacks flashed some serious leather to keep the home team from opening things up until the bottom of the fifth.

Hefferan led off the bottom of the first with a three-bagger, but the Tigers couldn't get him home.

The game stayed scoreless until the bottom of the third, when the Tigers plated a pair of runs on three hits. After Hall and Nangle hit back-to-back singles to start the home half of the inning, Gibian scooped up a grounder by first base and beat the runner to the bag. Then, Kirkpatrick put the Tigers on top, 2-0, when he ripped a single to knock in Hall and Nangle. But Mersch corralled the well-hit ball in left field and unleashed a beautiful throw to home to remind the Tigers that nothing would come easy for them in this game.

That set the stage for Davenport and Cornacchia to combine for the Diamondbacks' play of the day. With Kirkpatrick on first and one out, Davenport, playing shortstop, deftly fielded Hefferan's hard-hit ball and fired a strike to second, where the sure-handed Cornacchia was waiting in perfect position to receive the throw.

In the bottom of the fourth, Davenport held the Tigers' Nate Holst-Rightley to a leadoff single by making a strong throw into the infield from right-center. Later in the inning, with two outs and runners at first and second, the D'backs' Josh Rodgers, playing second base, ended the threat by fielding a grounder and alertly tagging a Tiger who was en route to second.

The defensive struggle remained at 2-0 until the Tigers tallied four runs on six hits in the bottom of the fifth. Nangle came up with the big blow when he crushed a triple to plate O'Shea and Hall, who notched consecutive singles to start the rally. After Ryan Anderson singled home Nangle to push the hosts' lead to 5-0, Kirkpatrick tacked on the Tigers' fifth hit in as many at-bats. Although it looked like the visitors might get out of the jam without giving up any more runs, Holst-Rightley picked up a two-out RBI when he stroked his second hit of the game to score Anderson.

In the bottom of the sixth, Gibian added to her stellar game by holding back-to-back Tigers to singles. On each play, Gibian fielded the ball in left-center and, without hesitation, got it into the infield to prevent an extra-base hit.

Rallying behind newly named team captains Kelton Brunner, Cornacchia and Corritore, the Diamondbacks gave everything they had from the start of the game to the finish. Despite the final score, the D'backs sent a message to the undefeated Tigers that they're in for a battle when the teams meet again.