MOUNT BERRY, Ga. – No. 9/11 Shenandoah University was down to its last strike before rallying for a 3-2 victory over RV/No. 30 Marietta College Wednesday night in the first round of the NCAA South Regional.
Trailing 2-1 after Marietta (28-16) scored one run in the sixth and one in the seventh, Shenandoah (33-10) saved its heroics for the bottom of the ninth.
"I was looking for a fastball and he (Pioneers pitcher Christian Herstine) threw me a curveball that hung up a bit and I just missed it," Nussman said of the first pitch foul.
"He threw me another curve (on the hit) and since I had seen three or four from him, I was able to get the bat on it and drive it."
Nussman ended up at second on the hit as Marietta threw home in an attempt to get Johnson at the plate.
Sophomore catcher Zach Herbaugh then made the Pioneers pay for that move by lacing a 1-1 single into right for the walkoff hit.
Nussman slid home without a throw for the game-winning run.
"I was looking for anything other than a curveball and he threw me a fastball," Herbaugh said.
The ninth inning heroics made a winner of senior Michael Scimanico (8-1), who threw a complete game.
Scimanico allowed the two runs on seven hits while striking out two and not walking a batter.
"I might not have made every pitch, but we battled and got the win," Scimanico said.
"The important thing is that Darrell Thompson is going to take the mound tomorrow and we have a great chance to win."
For coach Kevin Anderson, the win keeps a streak alive in which the Hornets have won the opening game of the regional in each of their seven trips to the NCAA playoffs.
"Tonight was a classic pitchers duel between two of the best pitchers in Division III," Anderson said. "Mike pitched great and so did their guy.
"In the ninth, we got three straight hits and two of them with two strikes. That is just a great testament to our guys strength and work ethic."
Herstine (9-4) took the loss after giving up three runs on eight hits in 8 2/3 innings. He struck out eight.
The win puts SU into a 6 p.m. game Thursday versus second-seeded Birmingham-Southern. Shenandoah will be the home team in the game.