COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Lake Erie College baseball team scored three runs in its first at bat of the day, four runs in its final turn and just enough in between to earn a doubleheader sweep of Ohio Dominican University Wednesday afternoon (April 11) at Panther Valley in Columbus.
Juniors Adam Beach (Vermilion, Ohio/Vermilion) and Doug Fox (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) combined on a five-hitter in the opener as the Storm (15-14, 11-5 GLIAC) won 5-1. In the second game, Lake Erie rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the final inning before Fox wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh to escape for a 6-4 victory.
The wins, which were the first for the Storm in the all-time series (2-7) with Ohio Dominican (16-14, 8-8 GLIAC), moved Lake Erie back over .500 overall for the season and into a first-place tie in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) standings with the winner of the second game today between Wayne State University and Saginaw Valley State University.
Lake Erie took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of game one, highlighted by a double steal and RBI hits from senior Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) and freshman Aaron Lindgren (Willoughby, Ohio/South). It remained that way until the sixth when the Panthers scored a run on an Chase Westphal single. The Storm added two more in the seventh on a two-run single by senior Brayan Cacique (Caracas, Venezuela/John I. Leonard/Lakeland C.C.).
Beach (4-2) allowed a run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out three. Fox allowed Westphal's single in the sixth, but that was it in his 1 1/3 innings of work. ODU's Sean Blackburn (3-4) gave up five runs on five hits and five walks in 6 1/3 innings.
Junior Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) went 2-for-3, the only two-hit game for the Storm. Ryan Rovnak had two hits for the Panthers.
Anthony Raschilla started the scoring in game two, with an opposite-field two-run home run to right field in the bottom of the first. The Storm tied it in the third, scoring on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by senior Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King). It was another wild pitch, this one by Storm sophomore starter Brad Raley (Hinckley, Ohio/Highland), that gave the Panthers the lead back in the fifth, making it 3-2.
That was the score in the seventh when Lake Erie rallied for four runs, sending nine men to the plate in the inning. The first four hitters in the frame, starting with senior catcher Nick Lovick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor), reached base and scored. Sophomore Reid Rizzo (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) singled in the first run following an errant throw on a sacrifice bunt attempt, Toth drew a bases-loaded walk, Cacique hit a sacrifice fly and senior Kyle Kemp (Fredericksburg, Va./James Monroe) singled in the final run to make it 6-3.
Fox got the first two outs of the seventh before the Panthers rallied with a pair of hits and then a throwing error by Blood that brought in a run. A double steal and a hit batter loaded the bases before Fox got Zak Dascenzo to fly out to Toth to end it.
Lake Erie scored its six runs on just five hits, including two by Cacique. The Panthers had 10 hits in game two, but stranded 10 men on base.
Freshman Heath Kelley (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) earned the win in relief, improving to 2-1 on the season. Earning saves in both games brought Fox's season total to five.
Erik Lamka (1-2) was the loser for ODU, allowing four runs on just one hit without recording an out in the seventh.
The Storm returns home after posting a 4-2 mark on its six-game road trip, to host the University of Findlay in a four game set starting Saturday, April 14, at Braggs Field. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.