Senior Lindsey Tobias delivered a walk-off grand slam to lift Toledo past Akron in extra innings on Sunday, 6-2, capping off a thrilling comeback by the home team. UT trailed the entire game until fellow senior Morgan Smith tied it with a two-run blast in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, just two days after her walk-off single against Ohio, as the Rockets evened the cross-divisonal series with the Zips 1-1.
Tobias' game-winning blast is her fourth long ball of the season and 21st of her career, moving her into sole possession of second place on the all-time UT home run list.
It was the first extra-inning victory of the season for the Midnight Blue & Gold, as they improve to 8-22 overall and 2-6 in the Mid-American Conference.
Starter Marla Gooding (4-10) rebounded nicely after getting roughed up by the Zips the day before, pitching all eight innings for the win, while surrendering no earned runs on six hits, three strikeouts and zero walks.
After a pair of unearned runs came across in the second inning, Gooding zeroed in and retired 18 of the next 21 batters she faced.
Toledo's bats were silenced most of the day by Akron starter Erin Seiler (7.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 K, 1 BB), who allowed only two hits through the first six innings.
Seniors Courtney McCarthy and Tobias each finished 2-for-4 at the dish, while Tobias notched four RBI for the second time in her career. The multi-hit effort is a team-high 10th of the season for McCarthy, who is batting a blistering .500 (23-for-46) over the previous 15 contests.
Junior Erinn Wright began the seventh-inning rally with an infield single, extending her team-best hitting streak to eight games, while sophomore Leigh Nebendahl reached on an error by the second baseman two batters later to place runners on the corners with Smith up next.
Pressure was added when UT botched a delayed steal attempt, leaving Wright at third base and Smith at the plate, and Akron one out away from a shutout. But the senior co-captain didn't give in and was able to lift the ball just past the left-field fence to force extras on her second deep fly this spring.
Akron put a runner aboard in the eighth, but momentum completely shifted when the UT infield turned an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
The Rockets finally got to Seiler with three consecutive hits in the last at-bat. Lead-off hitter Kristen Roznoski reached base for the first time on a bunt single, but was thrown out trying to advance an extra base on a McCarthy single to left.
Junior Lani Ernst followed with a single to left and moved to second when the ball was misplayed in the outfield, which also allowed McCarthy to reach third.
Wright drew a walk in the next at-bat to load the bases and Tobias crushed the first pitch she saw for her second career walk-off home run. She recorded a game-winning, inside-the-park home run against Western Michigan on April 27, 2012.
UT out-paced the Zips 8-6 in hits, while stranding three runners and committing two errors. Akron left four runners on and made three errors.
Toledo continues the homestand with a doubleheader against Oakland scheduled for Tuesday, April 9. First pitch of game one from Scott Park is slated for 2:00 p.m.