Tigers walk it off in seventh to beat Carl Junction 4-3

Landon Bland struck out nine Carl Junction hitters in his start Tuesday. David Hoover / CNO

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Carthage Tigers used a three-run seventh inning to pull off the walk-off win at Missouri Southern State University against Carl Junction and former head coach – now assistant CJ coach – Luke Bordewick, 4-3.

Carthage’s first-year head coach Kevin Burgi turned to sophomore standout Landon Bland (2-0, 0.83 ERA) to start the game. Bland gave up two hits over six and one-third innings, striking out nine and walking two, however, four errors behind him allowed Carl Junction to plate three unearned runs, all in the third inning. Bland would once again not figure into the decision, but kept Carthage within striking distance, much like he has done all season.

Brady Carlton (1-0, 3.23 ERA) notched the win, relieving Bland for two-thirds of an inning with one strikeout.


“I’m really proud of the way we pitched that game,” Burgi said. “CJ is a very good team, and I thought Landon did a great job getting ahead and staying ahead in the count. Brady also did a nice job in relief.”

Carthage got on the board in the fifth inning when Taylor Stevens-Diggs led off with a double to left field. Pinch runner Gabe Madsen replaced Stevens-Diggs. Two batters later, Ethan Stark singled to left with two outs to score Madsen and bring the score to 3-1.

The next scoring opportunity for Carthage came in the final inning when Bradyn Tate led off with a double to left field on the first pitch he saw. A groundout by Carlton moved Tate to third with only one out, but Stark then popped out to the second baseman which was not deep enough to score Tate from third.

With the Tigers down to their final out, Landon West drew a four-pitch walk and Blayne Lilienkamp singled to center to score Tate and advance West to second. The score was now 3-2 and Carthage had the tying and winning runs on base. Cooper Jackson pinch ran for Lilienkamp and Blayne’s twin brother, Cooper Lilienkamp, stepped up to the plate. Cooper was looking for redemption as he had gone 0-for-3 in the game with three strikeouts. With the count 1-2, a wild pitch moved West and Jackson to second and third. Cooper then battled at the plate, fouling off several pitches before lacing a ball between second and third to score West easily. Burgi, who was manning the third base coach box, waved Jackson around third where he would slide in ahead of the throw to give the Tigers the 4-3 walk-off victory.

“I thought that this was one of the first games in a while where our at bats got better as the game went on, and that is a strong indication that our guys are still plugging away and not getting down in the dugout,” Burgi said. “Our staff decided that we needed to put a strong emphasis on this after Friday’s game. We have talked to the guys about how negative thoughts produce negative outcomes, and they did a great job coming back and learning from mistakes.”

Stevens-Diggs led the team with two hits for the game and C. Lilienkamp led the team with two runs batted in.

“TSD has done a great job over the last week, and I’m proud of Cooper,” Burgi added. “He had taken some better swings all day, and he picked the right time to have one of the better swings of the season.”

Carthage moves to 9-7 on the season and travels to Branson to face the Pirates Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.