Todd Hudson delivered his second walk-off hit of the season on Thursday night as the Asheboro ZooKeepers clipped the Boone Bigfoots in a back-and-forth 13-12 contest at McCrary Park on Spirit Horse Ranch Night presented by Pinnacle Bank.
Hudson, who also had a walk-off hit on June 29 against the Holly Springs Salamanders, drove in Jared Beebe with a single in the bottom of the ninth to complete a wild comeback win for the ZooKeepers.
Boone took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning after a home run against Zooks starter Hunter Hill. However, Asheboro roared back in the bottom of the frame with four runs, highlighted by a Little League home run by Dylan Driver.
Neither team scored in the next three innings but the Bigfoots found their footing in the top of the fifth, tying the game at 4-4 with a pair of runs against Hill. Then, in the top of the sixth, Boone exploded for five runs against Jacob Dienes and Jaden Stockton to retake the lead at 9-4.
Trailing for the first time since the first inning, Asheboro trimmed its deficit in the bottom of the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Driver. In the top of the eighth, Matt Kemp tossed his second consecutive scoreless inning to keep the ZooKeepers within striking distance.
A lead-off double by Lleyton Lackey set the tone for what was a dominant eighth inning for the ZooKeepers. Cole Laskowski followed with a walk and both players stole a base, allowing Beebe to score them both with a triple, the fourth of the season for the Zooks as a team.
Carter French made the score 9-8 in the next at-bat with an RBI single and he promptly stole a pair of bags to advance to third with Driver at the dish. Hudson then tied the game with an RBI single.
Following a Mason Dear walk, Jacob Budzik put the ZooKeepers back on top with a two-RBI double, his first double of the season, and an error allowed him to reach third. Lackey, who led off the inning for Asheboro, then brought Budzik across home plate with his second double of the frame.
The ZooKeepers turned to debutant Gavin Sentell for the save in the ninth inning. However, a Budzik error allowed the Bigfoots leadoff man to reach base and Boone made the ZooKeepers pay. With two outs, Boone tied the game at 12-12 with an RBI single and double before Sentell got out of the inning.
Hudson walked the game off with two outs after Beebe reached to lead off the bottom of the ninth after being hit by a pitch. During their current four-game winning streak, the ZooKeepers have tallied 47 runs. Asheboro has reached double-digit runs in four of its last six games.
The Zooks racked up 16 hits on the night, their most in a game this season. Both teams combined for 10 errors as Asheboro committed a season-high six.
Following the game, Asheboro’s Spirit Horse Ranch specialty jerseys were auctioned off with all proceeds going to Spirit Horse Ranch. Pinnacle Bank helped organize the night and the auction.
The ZooKeepers look to continue their playoff push tomorrow night with a road game against the High Point-Thomasville HiToms. The game will start at 6:30 p.m. Austin Crume and Grame Simpson will have the radio call on Mixlr.
Written by Jacob Kisamore