PAINESVILLE, OHIO – On the strength of two home runs in each game, the Lake Erie College baseball team swept a doubleheader from visiting Northwood University Saturday (April 23) at Braggs Field, winning 11-9 and 4-3 to take the rain-shortened series 3-1.
Junior all-region shortstop Ryan Rua (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst Steele) hit two homers, including a grand slam, and drove in six runs in the first game while classmate Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) and sophomore Zach Mosbarger (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine) each went deep in the fifth inning of game two as the Storm (17-18, 10-12 GLIAC) rallied from a 3-1 deficit.
The Timberwolves (13-18, 8-13 GLIAC) scored twice in the top of the first in game one, but the Storm responded in the bottom half. Rua homered for the second straight day with a man on base to tie the game and a heads up play by senior all-region leftfielder Brandon James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) allowed LEC to take a 3-2 lead.
With one out, James appeared to be going from first to third on a single by junior DH Kyle Kemp (Fredericksburg, Va./James Monroe) but caught the Northwood defense off guard and continued on his way to home, scoring without a throw.
Lake Erie pushed the lead to 5-2 an inning later on a two-run single by junior centerfielder Brayan Cacique (Caracas, Venezuela/Lakeland C.C.).
Northwood tied it up in the fourth, scoring a run on a groundout and then two on a home run to left center by Ryan Palmer.
The first two hitters of the Storm fourth reached on errors and junior rightfielder Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) singled in the go-ahead run. Two batters later, Rua belted his first collegiate grand slam over the left field fence to make it a 10-5 game.
The Timberwolves loaded the bases with no one out against sophomore starter Adam Beach (Vermilion, Ohio/Vermilion) in the fifth, but freshman Brad Raley (Hinkley, Ohio/Medina Highland) came on and allowed only a sacrifice fly in the frame.
A two-run homer by Jake Orad in the sixth made it 10-8, but the Storm got a run back when Kemp singled in Rua to push it back to a three-run edge. Despite allowing a run in the seventh, Rua closed out the inning to pick up his first save.
Led by Rua's three hits, five Storm players had multiple hits in game one. James and Kemp had two each as did sophomore Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) and freshman Reid Rizzo (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle).
Beach (3-3) picked up the win, battling through 4 1/3 innings. He gave up just four hits and struck out four, but walked five and gave up six runs.
Palmer, Cory Colucci and Brett Lechner each had two hits for Northwood. Casey Ingle took the loss on the mound, allowing 10 runs (five earned) on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings.
James singled in a run in the first inning of game two to give Lake Erie an early lead. It stayed that way until the fourth when Northwood tied it on a Andy Bouchard single to center.
The Timberwolves took the lead in the fifth with two runs generated by Lechner. He singled in a run to give Northwood the lead and then scored after Ingle was caught in a run-down to make it 3-1.
But the Storm quickly responded in their half of the fifth. Leeworthy hit Eric Kinley's first pitch of the inning over the centerfield fence to cut the deficit to one.
Toth drew a two-out walk and Mosbarger, in the game after Cacique suffered an injury running into the fence in the first inning, cleared the wall in right field for his first collegiate home run and a 4-3 Storm lead.
Freshman starter Brian Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) retired the side in the sixth and the first hitter of the seventh, but allowed two straight hits before sophomore lefty Tyler Minnich (Lagrange, Ohio/Keystone) came on to strikeout Lechner and retire clean-up hitter Jake Labrecque on a fly ball to end the game.
Kilway (2-4) went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits. He walked two and struck out three. James had two more hits in game two and Mosbarger went 2-for-3 and scored two times.
Toth went 1-for-3 in the first game to extend his hitting streak to a school-record tying 13 games, but was 0-for-2 in the nightcap.
Goodwin had three hits to lead Northwood while Ingle added two. Kinley took the loss, giving up four runs on six hits in six innings.
The Storm, which reached 10 conference wins for the second time in program history and are in fourth place in the conference standings, hosts third-place Ashland University on Wednesday, April 27, for a GLIAC doubleheader at Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.