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San Francisco rallies past San Diego with dramatic walk-off

May 24, 2013

STOCKTON, Calif. -- In one of the most dramatic wins in San Francisco Dons history, the USF pulled off a miraculous come-from-behind victory to defeat San Diego, 10-8, Friday at Banner Island Ballpark. The win advances USF to the championship game tomorrow night to face the winner of tonight's BYU/San Diego game.

Trailing 8-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth after scoring a pair in the eighth to tie it, USF sophomore Derek Atkinson blasted a one-out, three-run home run to right field to give the Dons a 10-8 win in a game they repeatedly clawed their way back into.

The Dons fell behind 6-0 in the middle of the fifth after San Diego erupted for five runs in the top of the frame, but characteristic of a team that never quits, USF put four back on the board in the bottom of the sixth to stay in the game. The rally consisted of three RBI singles by Bradley Zimmer, Atkinson, and Josh Miller.

After tying the game in the eight on Miller's two-run single, the Dons gave the lead right back in the top of the ninth on an Austin Bailey solo home run and Dillon Haupt RBI single.

Dons leadoff hitter Justin Maffei singled up the middle to start the game-winning rally. After a Jason Mahood groundout, Bradley Zimmer walked and Zachary Turner singled to centerfield to cut the deficit to one. That set the stage for Atkinson's at bat, when he pulled a two-strike pitch into the grass over the right field wall to give the Dons the victory. Atkinson was mobbed by his teammates as he circled the bases to a standing ovation from Dons fans.

"That was a special win," said USF head coach Nino Giarratano. "We just battled back, and you have to give the guys credit, they've been tough all year. After coming back from 6-0, we go down 8-6 in the ninth and we put the magic together again. I'm really proud of the fellas for this one. We need some rest, and we have to come back tomorrow ready to play."

--from usfdons.com