---Joe Mack trots home after his walk-off two-run homer, his third of the game, to defeat Bellarmine, 6-4, in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader.
Mike Anderson, NKU Sports Information
1 box score | Game 2 box score
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Joe Mack stole the show on Saturday afternoon, belting three home runs to lead Northern Kentucky University to a 6-4 win over rival Bellarmine in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
After BU’s Michael Thompson no-hit the Norse through five innings Mack came alive, winning a 10-pitch battle when he went opposite field for his first homer of the season over the left-center field wall to cut the Bellarmine lead to 2-1.
The shot woke up a sleeping giant as the Norse (18-15, 7-3 GLVC East) plated three more in the seventh when Jeff Bohlen singled to bring in Jack Ambrose, who doubled to lead off the inning, before Mack stepped up to hit his second bomb of the day in an eight-pitch at bat, driving the ball 40 feet deeper to the exact same part of the field, to bring in two more and give the Norse a 4-2 lead.
Bellarmine (21-11, 8-2 GLVC East) got one run back after a first-pitch leadoff homer by John Lyons before a throwing error allowed Patrick Brady, the reigning GLVC Player of the Year, to score from second base and tie the score.
The magic came in the bottom of the ninth. After Shannon McCormick struck out to lead off the frame Pat Muth was able to beat out an infield single to bring up Mack. BU manager Deron Spinks elected to go to the bullpen for the left-handed Ryan Krull, but to no avail as Mack pulled an 0-1 pitch well over the right field fence to end the game.
Matt Winterhalter (4-2) got the win in relief, striking out two in two innings of work. Sean Munninhoff got the start, working seven innings while giving up six hits and four runs, two of them earned, and striking out seven.
The three home runs by Mack tied a school record, making the junior the fourth man in NKU history to accomplish the feat. Jason Cisper was another bright spot for the NKU offense, going 2-for-4 with a double as eight of the nine NKU starters claimed at least one base hit.
The momentum did not carry into the nightcap as a six-run third inning propelled Bellarmine to a 9-6 victory in Game 2.
Dave Middendorf (1-2) took the loss in the game, giving up six runs on six hits in two innings.
Kevin Dusold found his stroke in Game 2, going 2-for-4 in the contest. Cisper also claimed a two-hit day with another double and his 10th stolen base on the season.
The Norse and Knights will lock up on Sunday afternoon to wrap up their four-game series with a matinee doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for noon.