PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Lake Erie College (14-15, 7-9 GLIAC) dropped a pair of tight conference battles to Ohio Dominican University (12-15, 9-7 GLIAC), 7-6 and 14-11, at Braggs Field in Painesville, Ohio.
In game one, both teams went down quietly in the first inning but Ohio Dominican threatened in the second with runners on the corners and just one out. Junior righty Glenn Stewart (Strattanville, Pa./Clarion Limestone) worked out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts, including an 11-pitch at bat. Lake Erie also got a pair of runners on with one down in the bottom of the frame but were unable to capitalize.
The Panthers got on the board first in the top of the third as a bunt single and a fielder's choice without an out retired, and a pair of stolen bases set up runners at second and third with no one down. A base hit to center and sacrifice fly brought in the pair and gave ODU the 2-0 advantage. The Storm got one back in the bottom of the frame without the benefit of a hit as sophomore third baseman Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) and junior outfielder Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) led off with walks and junior shortstop Ryan Rua (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst Steele) grounded in Blood.
In the fourth, ODU plated two more runs on five hits, knocking Stewart from the game. However, Lake Erie grabbed a 5-4 lead in the bottom half of the inning with four runs. Junior first baseman Jae Leeworty (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) doubled home freshman outfielder Garrett Emling (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) and sophomore catcher Patrick Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) and was brought home on a one out single to left by Blood. Blood scored later in the inning on a wild pitch.
The Panthers tied the game up with a solo run fifth and threaten to get more before Blood ended the rally by turning a bases loaded double play.
In the sixth inning each team plated a run as Felix Brown doubled home a run for his third hit of the game. In the bottom half of the inning, Lake Erie rallied with two outs as Blood doubled and a Toth single to center drove home freshman pinch runner Reid Rizzo (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle). The difference came in the seventh when ODU's Anthony Raschilla hit a solo home run and Lake Erie was unable to respond.
Blood led the Storm in game one, going two-for-two with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI.
In game two, after sophomore right hander Adam Beach (Vermilion, Ohio/Wermilion) worked out of a jam in the first with a pair of strikeouts, the Storm was off and running. Toth lead off with a double to the gap, and junior Brayan Cacique (Caracas, Venezuela/Lakeland C.C.) brought him in with a sacrifice fly. Later in the inning, after a pair of walks, junior outfielder Kyle Kemp (Fredericksvurg, Va./James Monroe) made them pay a three-run shot to left center.
Toth reached again with a single in the second and senior outfielder Brandon James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) drove him in with an infield single to take a 5-0 advantage. In the third, Toth drove in a pair more with a two out RBI single bringing in Leeworthy and junior designated hitter Josh Crout (Hamilton, Ohio/Edgewood).
Beach cruised through the first three innings with two hits and five strikeouts but things quickly unraveled in the fourth as the Panthers scored 10 runs in the inning and three more in fifth to take a 13-7 advantage. Lake Erie cut the gap in half with three runs in the bottom of the fifth as Cacique and Rua each had RBI singles.
Both teams plated solo runs in the sixth inning and Lake Erie brought the go ahead run to the plate with bases loaded and two outs, but a ground out to second ended the rally.
Lake Erie outhit Ohio Dominican in game two, 15-12, with Toth and Rua each accounting for three hits and Kemp and Leeworthy each slugging a pair.
The Storm is in action next this weekend as they travel to the University of Findlay for a four-game GLIAC set.