Janesville Craig’s baseball team was three outs away from a pivotal Big Eight Conference win Tuesday.
The Cougars led visiting Middleton 3-1 and were coasting behind pitcher Aiden Schenk.
Unfortunately for Craig, Schenk ran out of pitches and the Cardinals capitalized.
Middleton scored five runs in the top of the seventh in rallying for a 6-3 win at Riverside Park.
Craig (9-7, 7-6) had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the inning but a flyout to center ended the game.
Schenk threw six masterful innings, striking out 10 and walking only one before being forced to leave in the seventh when his pitch count hit 100.
“That’s the best pitched game we’ve had this season,” Craig coach Vic Herbst said of Schenk’s performance. “And overall, I thought we played a pretty good game. We only walked one and our defense was solid up until that one error the last inning.
“But give Middleton credit. They strung some hits together that last inning and got the win. There’s not much else to say.”
Craig took a 2-0 lead in the third on Schenk’s RBI groundout and a Middleton error. The Cougars pushed the lead to 3-0 in the fifth on another error.
Middleton (12-7, 9-4) scored a run in the sixth before batting around the order in the seventh. The Cardinals scored the five runs thanks to five hits, a walk and a Craig error.
Easton Zempel started for Middleton and got the win. He pitched into the seventh, allowing one earned run and striking out six.
Craig plays at Middleton today.
MIDDLETON 6, CRAIG 3
Middleton 000 001 5—6 12 4
Janesville Craig 002 010 0—3 5 1
Zempel, Pincombe (7) and Erickson; Schenk, Schork (7) and Udelhofen
Leading hitters—Zempel (M) 3x4, Williams (M) 3x4, Roell (M) 2x4, Zimmerman (M) 2x3. 2B—Zempel (M), Schenk (C), I. Stried (C). 3B—Adams (C)
SO—Zempel 6, Schenk 10, Schork 1. BB—Zempel 3, Schenk 1