Janesville Craig’s baseball team got off to a tough start but got the last laugh Thursday.

The Cougars gave up five unearned runs and fell behind by four going to the bottom of the sixth inning against Madison Memorial.

There, though, they scored eight runs to rally to a 9-6 victory at Riverside Park and earn a series split with the Spartans this week.

“Defensively, we were not good early in the game,” Craig coach Victor Herbst said. “But it was nice to see the guys keep battling and come out with a win.”

It was 5-1 in the sixth when the Cougars came to bat, and their first four batters each drew walks. Then an error allowed Craig to score another run and Carson Herbst drilled an RBI single to left field to make it 5-4. And Joe Stried’s bases-loaded walk tied the game.

Craig then hit a grounder to the pitcher that could have potentially led to a double play, but an error left the Spartans without an out, trailing 6-5 and still looking at a bases-loaded situation.

Another run scored on an error, Aiden Schenk delivered an RBI hit and Josh Udelhofen capped the rally with a double to the wall.

“We did a nice job not letting them off the hook,” Herbst said. “We had patient at-bats in that inning and wound up with five walks, three hits and a couple errors.”

Memorial got one run in the top of the seventh before Schenk slammed the door.

Craig plays again today at Lake Geneva Badger.

CRAIG 9, MEMORIAL 6Madison Memorial 100 202 1—6 3 2

Janesville Craig 100 008 x—9 5 5

Jessup, Muller (6), Schmitt (6) and Piotrowski; McLevige, Gudenschwager (4), Schork (7), Schenk (7) and Udelhofen.

Leading hitters—Schenk (C) 2x3. 2B—Udelhofen, Brinkman.

SO—Jessup 3, Schmitt 1, McLevige 3, Gudenschwager 3, Schenk 1. BB—Jessup 5, Muller 2, Schmitt 1, McLevige 3, Gudenschwager 3, Schork 2.

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