MIDLAND, MICH. – The Lake Erie College baseball team continued to get fantastic pitching, but on Sunday (April 22) the Storm bats awoke for a doubleheader sweep of host Northwood University, 4-2 and 10-0, to take the series and tie last years's school record win total.
Junior Adam Beach (Vermilion, Ohio/Vermilion) and freshman Cory Fox (Vermilion, Ohio/Vermilion), did not allow an earned run and wrapped up a dominant weekend for the Storm (21-17, 17-7 GLIAC) starting staff. Lake Erie hurlers threw three complete games in the four-game set and posted an ERA of 0.67 in 27 innings.
And after being held to just two runs and 10 hits in a split the day before, the Storm offense got going early in the opener. The first three hitters reached base, including an RBI double from senior Brayan Cacique (Caracas, Venezuela/John I. Leonard/Lakeland) for a 1-0 lead. Junior Pat Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) and senior Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) added run-scoring ground outs to put LEC ahead 3-0.
The Timberwolves (18-18, 8-16 GLIAC) took advantage of two Lake Erie errors in the bottom of the first to score twice and cut the margin to one. But after that, they were stonewalled by the Storm's veteran righthander.
Beach (5-2) scattered five hits the rest of the way and was never in trouble until the sixth when the Timberwolves put two on with one out. But Beach battled back and got a ground out and struck out Jason Fracassa to end the threat.
An RBI single by senior Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) gave the Storm a 4-2 lead. Toth went 3-for-4 in the game and also scored a run. Cacique and junior Cody Blood each had two hits to back Beach, who allowed just eight hits in seven innings while walking one and striking out six.
Alex Madous (0-1) took the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. Austin Rinard had three hits and an RBI for the Timberwolves.
It was Beach's fellow Vermilion High School grad's turn in the nightcap. Making his first collegiate start, lefty Fox (2-1) held the home team to just four hits in five shutout innings. He worked around three walks and struck out five in a dominating effort.
The Storm offense struck early again in game two, plating three runs in the first frame for the second time on the day. After retiring the first two hitters, Northwood starter Blaine Paden (1-1) walked three straight hitters before freshman Aaron Lindgren (Willoughby, Ohio/South) delivered a two-run single to open the scoring. Blood later drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-0.
After scoring an unearned run in the fourth, the Storm broke things open with a four-run fifth inning. Toth delivered a two-run single and both sophomore Reid Rizzo (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) and freshman Sean Mathews (Washington, Mich./Warren De La Salle) each added RBI hits as the Storm upped its edge to 8-0.
Mathews drove in another run in the sixth to finish 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI's – all career highs.
After Fox, classmate Heath Kelly (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) and junior Doug Fox (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) closed it out with each tossing a scoreless inning of relief.
The Storm, which has won nine of 11 conference games, reached the 20-win mark for the second straight season. Lake Erie travels to Ashland University for a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) showdown on Wednesday, April 25, starting at 2 p.m.