Rua Becomes All-Time Lake Erie Home Run Leader in Home-Opening Sweep of B-W

Rua Becomes All-Time Lake Erie Home Run Leader in Home-Opening Sweep of B-W
Rua Becomes All-Time Lake Erie Home Run Leader in Home-Opening Sweep of B-W


PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Sophomore Ryan Rua (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst) became Lake Erie College’s all-time home run leader as the Storm baseball team powered its way to a doubleheader sweep of visiting Baldwin-Wallace College at Braggs Field on Saturday (March 27).
Making its first appearance at home this season after opening the year with 14 road games, the Storm (8-8) homered five times, including three by Rua, to win by scores of 15-5 and 11-9 and run its winning streak to four games. With the wins, Lake Erie evened its record at .500 this late into the season for the first time in the program’s nine-year history.
The three home runs by Rua put his career total at 18, one more than Ben Reed had from 2006-09. He leads the team with seven round-trippers on the season.
Rua went four-for-four with four and homered twice and junior Brandon James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) also went deep in the opener as the Storm broke open a one-run game with a four-run third inning and then put it away with a seven-run fifth. Rua drove in four runs and sophomore Mike Morgan (Indian Lake, Ohio/Russells Point) had three RBI for the winners.
After Baldwin-Wallace (4-8) scored three times in the top of the third, closing to 4-3 on a two-run single by Chris Nealon, Rua and James hit two-run homer runs just one batter apart, to push the margin to 8-3. The Storm posted its biggest inning of the year, scoring seven times in the fifth, to pull away. Morgan had a two-run single and junior captain Nick Lovick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) drove in a pair with a double in the frame.
Lovick, Morgan, James and sophomore Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) each had two hits in the game while freshman Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) drove in two runs. Freshman Logan Nordquist (Alliance, Ohio/Alliance) picked up in the win (1-0) in relief, hurling two hitless innings.
Nealon led the B-W offense in the opener with two hits and three RBI. Nolan Neuschaefer had two hits and scored twice.
The Storm offense picked up right where it left off in game two. After Morgan singled and Rua was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the first, Lovick scored them both with a double to right center. Two batters later, sophomore Matt Lott (Newark, Ohio/Newark Catholic) singled to score Lovick for a 3-0 score.
The Yellow Jackets responded with five runs in the top of the second. B-W used small ball to put runs on the board, loading the bases then scoring on a hit batter, a walk, a single, a walk and a fielders choice.
Rua tied the game in the Storm’s half of the second, blasting a two-run shot to straight-away center field to become the Storm’s leading home-run hitter. After a Lovick double, James singled in the go-ahead run.
In the third, Toth hit a milestone of his own, taking BW starter Bill Bostleman deep to right field for a two-run shot and the first home run of his career. 
An unearned run in the fourth put the Storm up 9-5. Jim Martin hit a two-run double in the sixth to bring B-W within 9-7, but a sacrifice fly by freshman Michael Brucchieri (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) and a single by Blood pushed the lead back to four at 11-7.
B-W scored twice in the seventh before Rua closed it out on the mound.
Blood and James each had three hits for the Storm in game two, while Lovick had two hits and scored three times. After surrendering the five runs in the second inning, sophomore starter Pat Mulligan (Brookfield, Ohio/Brookfield) settled down to earn the win. Mulligan (2-3) went five innings, allowing the five runs on six hits with five walks and a pair of strikeouts.
Lake Erie’s homestand will be short-lived, as the Storm is on the road on Sunday, March 28, against NCAA Division I Cleveland State University at All Pro Freight Stadium, home of the Frontier League’s Lake Erie Crushers, in Avon, Ohio. First pitch is noon.