Kenny Struthers singled and doubled in his first two at-bats, but it was the Arts & Sciences hitter's third and fourth plate appearances Thursday that made the difference in the Patriots' 5-4 victory over Notre Dame.
In the seventh inning with the score tied at 4, Justin Bruin singled and, with Struthers waiting patiently, stole second and third. Coach Rik Hermann flashed the squeeze sign.
"I saw it and I'm thinking to myself, 'I don't really want to do this. I want to hit,'" Struthers said later. "He said bunt, though, so that's what I did."
With near-perfect execution and Bruin sprinting for home, Struthers got the bat on ball and placed it inches beyond the grasp of diving Irish pitcher Gust White, for the game-winner.
The two also pulled off the feat in the fifth after Bruin doubled and advanced to third on an error before Struthers' first RBI.
"I was really trying to sacrifice, give myself up to get the run home, on both of them," he said.
It was small ball at its best.
"Absolutely, so much so," Hermann said. "Before the sixth inning, I changed the suicide squeeze [signal] because I thought they had it. Kenny got a couple of bunts down. We took advantage of some of their mistakes, but we were putting pressure on the defense, which is what we have to do to win."
Notre Dame tied the game in the top of the seventh on Calvin Sims' two-run triple to right-center.
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...