By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director
It was Tuttle time.
TMU freshman Nick Tuttle tagged a single to left in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday that was misplayed by a Menlo College outfielder, allowing Pearson Good to score the winning run from second in a 5-4 victory at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.
The game, which Menlo forced to extra innings with a run in the ninth, resembled the last time the teams met in both its drama and climax.
In a GSAC tournament elimination game last May, the Mustangs trailed Menlo by two with two outs in the ninth and the bases loaded.
Then Aaron Shackelford singled, the ball skipped by the centerfielder and everybody, including Shackelford, came around to score.
The Mustangs never looked back on their way to the NAIA World Series.
Friday wasn’t as weighty. It simply meant the Mustangs moved to 2-2 in GSAC play and 7-4 overall. But it was important in that it helped TMU avoid its second late-inning collapse and get off on the right foot in its second conference series of the season after dropping two of three to San Diego Christian last week.
After a three-run fifth, highlighted by Shackelford’s RBI triple, Master’s led Menlo 4-2. But the Oaks scored once in the sixth and manufactured a run in the ninth to set the stage for Tuttle, who said the hardest part of transitioning to college ball has been the heightened level of competition.
Tuttle’s high school was small. Friday, he didn’t shrink from the big stage.
“I took a deep breath, and I was thinking about nothing,” said Tuttle, who started in left field and batted ninth. “(I just decided) I was going to react to the first pitch I saw.”
Tuttle shot a belt-high fastball into left. Good sprinted around from second to score on the hit. And Max Maitland served as runaway attendant, waving Good to the outside of the bag
“Tuttle hit a line drive, and we only had one out, so you don’t want to get doubled up,” Good said. “You have to make sure that it’s on the ground, and once it was on the ground, I knew I was going all the way.”
Coach Monte Brooks said he would have held Good at third base had there been no bobble. In the third inning, however, the left field fence found holding Good to be an uphill battle.
Good’s homer put TMU ahead 1-0, and it fortified belief that this conference series will be different than the last. It didn’t hurt that the team visiting evoked memories of a bad situation turned good.
“We were talking about that when we were stretching, about Shack’s inside-the-park home run,” Good said. “You just have to keep believing.”
Master’s and Menlo will play a double-header Saturday at TMU. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m., with the second game set to start at approximately 2.