The Cincinnati Steam got themselves in position to steal a road win, and Eddie Pursinger delivered in the clutch.
Pursinger’s three-run, ninth-inning home run capped off an improbable comeback, as Cincinnati downed the Southern Ohio Copperheads 9-8 inside a soggy Bob Wren Stadium on Wednesday.
Southern Ohio led 8-0 going to the sixth inning and appeared to be well on its way to a victory.
The Steam would score seven runs in the top of the ninth inning to take the lead in stunning fashion.
Cincinnati improves to 4-4 on the season, while Southern Ohio falls to 3-5.
The Steam scored single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to cut Southern Ohio’s lead to 8-2.
Cincinnati started the ninth with a single from Eddie Rivero, a double from Cameron Rountree and a walk to Drew Holderbach to load the bases.
Jake Silverstein drove in the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to left to make it 8-3, but Copperheads’ pitcher Reese Trahey more importantly had the first out of the inning.
The plot thickened when Gephry Pena hit a two-run triple to right field, making it 8-5. The tying run came to the plate after Grant Richardson was hit by a pitch, and it was 8-6 after Nathan Stolze’s RBI single to right.
Trahey was lifted at that point for Collin Sells.
Sells’ first batter faced was Pursinger. He took a 1-2 pitch out of Bob Wren Stadium, and Cincinnati suddenly led 9-8.
Sells retired the next two batters, but the damage had been done.
Trahey gave up seven earned runs in 2 1-3 innings of work. He allowed six hits and a walk, striking out one.
Sells took the loss, giving up one run in 2-3 of an inning pitched.
The Steam’s Jonathan Brus was in line for the win after pitching the eighth inning. He allowed a lead-off walk to Daniel Cruz in the ninth, but struck out Ty Crittenberger, Jared Heard and Phillip Glasser to end the game.
The comeback spoiled a solid start from Southern Ohio’s Zach Iverson. He allowed only one run on six hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out eight.
Southern Ohio scored four runs in the bottom of the third to lead 5-0. Thomas Zazzaro hit an RBI triple, and later scored on a wild pitch.
Chris Gambert hit an RBI single to make it 4-0, and he eventually scored the fourth run of the inning.
The Copperheads then added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Zyon Avery and Daniel Cruz each picked up RBIs with bases-loaded walks. It was 8-0 after Crittenberger’s sacrifice fly to right.
Cincinnati’s Brock Nartker got the start but gave up five runs — two earned — on six hits and two walks in 2 1-3 innings. Alex Firsdon was solid out of the Steam’s bullpen, pitching 3 2-3 scoreless innings.
Southern Ohio finished with 10 hits. Gambert was 3 for 4 with two runs scored. Cruz drew three walks.