By Bill Paterson
Jake Schu scored the winning run in the top of the 12th inning on a bang-bang play tonight to lead Oak Ridge to a 2-1 win over Rocklin in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II baseball playoffs at Sacramento City College and thus force a third and deciding game in the best of three series 7 p.m. Thursday, weather permitting.
Schu beat out a chopper to short, then took second on the errant throw that tried to get the speedy leadoff man at first base. Schu took third on Stephen Barisone's sacrifice fly to center field, then scored when Jordan Mills bunted back to Rocklin pitcher Ben Brown.
Brown's throw reached the plate in plenty of time, but Schu slid around the tag of catcher Wes Marker. He then reached back and touched the plate with his foot and was called safe, much to the consternation of the Thunder players, who were sure he was out.
That proved the difference in the entertaining and edgy three-hour, five-minute game, the second to be decided in extra innings between the two teams. Rocklin beat Oak Ridge 7-6 in nine innings on Monday.
Tonight, Oak Ridge's Kyle Porter and Rocklin's Matt Fielding engaged in a classic pitcher's duel. Fielding went seven innings, struck out 12, scattered five hits and walked two.
Porter struck out 13 and allowed five hits and walked one in eight innings.
Porter looked like he had a shutout win after taking a 1-0 lead and getting the first two batters out in the bottom of the seventh. But Rocklin collected three straight hits, including an RBI single by No. 9 hitter Chris Streeter.
But credit Oak Ridge third baseman Robby Brown for the game saver. He dived to stop Streeter's shot from going down the left field line and preventing Rocklin from scoring the potential winning run.
Oak Ridge had scored the only run up to that point in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Barisone.
Relievers Brown of Rocklin and Chris Muse-Fisher of Oak Ridge also pitched well.
Brown, who got the win in relief on Monday to stop Oak Ridge's 25-game winning streak, was the tough-luck loser this time, despite allowing just two hits in five innings. Muse-Fisher, a left-hander like Porter, pitched four shutout innings and allowed two hits to pick up the victory.
There were no extra base hits by either team.
Oak Ridge (27-3) 000 010 000 001 - 2 7 1
Rocklin (22-8) 000 000 100 000 - 1 7 2
OR - Porter (13 strikeouts), Muse-Fisher (9) and Barisone. R - Fielding (12 strikeouts), Brown (8) and Marker. R - Streeter 2x5; OR - Schu 2x5; Wehr 2x4.