PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Visiting Ashland University snapped the Lake Erie College baseball team's four-game winning streak by taking a pair of games in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) doubleheaders at Braggs Field on Wednesday afternoon (April 4).
The 7-5 and 9-6 losses drop the Storm (11-12, 7-3 GLIAC) into a three-way tie for second place in the conference standings.
The two teams did all their scoring in the early innings of game one. After Austin Erb singled in a run for Ashland (15-11, 7-5 GLIAC) in the top of the first, the home team responded with four in the bottom of the second. Senior 1B Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) doubled in two runs and classmate Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) followed with a base hit that scored Leeworthy and sophomore Reid Rizzo (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) came off after the ball was mishandled in the outfield.
Tyler Gray hit a two-run home run to center in the third, his seventh of the season, and the Eagles went ahead with four in the fourth. Gray singled in two runs during the frame and the Eagles scored a pair of unearned runs following a Storm error.
Lake Erie got one back in the bottom half when Toth singled in a run, but that was the last scoring play in the game. Ashland starter Zach Botjer (2-3) settled down after the second, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits in 6 ½ inning. He walked two and struck out seven. Aaron Hilt got the final two outs for his first save.
Senior Glenn Stewart (Strattanville, Pa./Clarion Limestone) allowed five runs (three earned) on five hits in three-plus innings to take the loss. Freshman Heath Kelley (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) tossed 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief.
Offensively, Toth, Leeworthy and Kyle Kemp (Fredericksburg, Va./James Monroe) each had two hits. Brayan Cacique (Caracas, Venezuela/John I. Leonard/Lakeland C.C.)went 0-for-3, snapping his 10-game hitting streak. Gray and Erb each had a pair of hits for the Eagles in the opener.
The Eagles jumped out early in game two, with the first six hitters singled and Ashland had a 6-0 lead after sending 12 men to the plate in the opening frame. The teams traded runs in the second before the Storm closed the gap with a four-run fourth. Leeworthy singled in a run and Kemp followed with a sacrifice fly before Toth ripped a two-run single to right to make it 7-5.
The Eagles answered right back in the top of the fifth, with Wade Kaido drilling a two-run double to the gap in right center. The Storm got a run back in the bottom of the seventh on a single by freshman Aaron Lindgren (Willoughby, Ohio/South) and had the tying run at the plate, but Hilt came on for the second time on the day to strikeout Leeworthy to end it.
Cole Hudson (2-1) got the win with three solid innings of relief work for the Eagles. He allowed just one run on four hits after the Storm chased starter Shayne Herold. Freshman Russ Hogue (Belle Center, Ohio/Indian Lake) took the loss, allowing six runs in 2/3 of an inning. Junior Jimmie Shaw (Holland, Ohio/Toledo St. John) kept the Storm in it with three-plus innings of relief work, allowing just one run on four hits.
Offensively in game two, Lindgren had three hits and scored twice while Cacique went 2-for-4 for the Storm. Kemp and Toth each had two RBI. Kaido, Gray and John Broll each had three hits for the Eagles while Giancarlo Saia had a pair of hits and scored twice.
The Storm starts s four-game series at Tiffin University on Friday, April 6, beginning at 1 p.m.