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Nova propels Slammers to walk-off win in extras over Titans

By: Matthew Gustafson

JOLIET, IL – The Slammers’ bats came alive after eight scoreless innings Sunday in a thrilling, extra-innings walk-off win over the Ottawa Titans. 

Ottawa (30-19) broke an early scoreless tie with two runs in the top of the third inning.

Aaron Casillas hit a pop fly that dropped in between the Slammers’ infield for a single before scoring on a Jackie Urbaez double to left-center field. Urbaez scored on a Jamey Smart single to right-center, giving the Titans a 2-0 lead. 

Ottawa extended its lead with another run in the fifth. Brendan O’Donnell continued his hot streak with a single to left field, scoring Urbaez for a 3-0 advantage. 

Titans starter Shane Gray threw 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing three hits while walking five batters and striking out four. 

A key moment came when Gray walked the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the second before striking out Victor Nova to escape the jam. The Ottawa starter stranded six runners in his outing, holding Joliet at bay in the early innings.

Brett Sanchez allowed six hits and three runs while striking out six batters in six innings pitched for the jailbirds. 

The Slammers (23-28) broke through in their last chance at bat. Liam McArthur led off with a single up the middle before a Jeissy De La Cruz walk brought the tying run, Victor Nova, to the plate. 

Nova came through with a game-tying three-run homer to right field, making it 3-3 with no outs. Joliet put runners at first and second again before Erasmo Pinales secured two straight outs to send the game to extra innings. 

The Titans retook the lead in the top of the tenth inning when Jake Guenther led off with a double down the right field line to score Jackie Urbaez, who started at second base as the designated runner. Slammers reliever Cameron Smith bounced back to strike out three consecutive batters, keeping the score at 4-3. 

With Drew Stengren beginning the bottom of the tenth as the runner at second base, Cal Hejza laid down a bunt to start the frame. Stengren was ruled safe on the play at third base, putting runners at first and third.

Liam McArthur hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Stengren and tie the game with one out. Jeissy De La Cruz hit another sacrifice fly, this time to right field, to advance Hejza to third base after he made a bold play to tag up at first base on the McArthur flyout.

Victor Nova once again came up in the clutch, hitting a line drive to right field to give Joliet the 5-4 walk-off win. Nova batted in four of the Slammers’ five runs as the hero of the game. 

Joliet will now turn its attention to a three game series against the Schaumburg Boomers starting Tuesday, July 9, at Slammers Stadium. First pitch on Hawaiian Luau Night is at 6:35 p.m.

For information on season tickets, premium suites or group outings, please visit the Slammers’ official website at