ATHENS, W. Va. – The Lake Erie College baseball team battled the Concord University Mountain Lions in two close games on Sunday (March 5) but fell by two walkoffs in an afternoon doubleheader.
"I'm obviously disappointed with the day, thought we put ourselves in a position to win a series, despite not picking it up all that well defensively in the first game. Not to mention, that was our best offensive output all year," said Storm head coach Cameron Castro.
Lake Erie opened the afternoon with a run in the first inning. Left fielder Jacob Armstrong (Clarkston, Mich. / Clarkston) led off with a single, stole second, took third on a groundout and came across the plate on a passed ball.
Concord took a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the first inning with a two-run double.
In the third, Lake Erie regained a 3-2 lead with two runs in the frame. Designated hitter Sam Browning (Cincinnati, Ohio / Archbishop McNicholas) reached on a one-out single and scored on a RBI double by catcher Nigel Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio / La Salle). Right fielder Nathan Erzen (Brookpark, Ohio / Berea-Midpark) followed with a RBI single of his own.
A two-run third inning put the Mountain Lions back on top by a run, 4-3.
Browning capped a three-run fourth inning for the Storm with a three-run homerun to left field. Browning's blast put the Storm up 6-4.
The back and forth game continued as Concord put a five-run inning in the fourth with three hits. After four innings, Concord led 9-6.
Lake Erie rallied for an 11-9 lead with a five-run fifth inning, using five hits. Third baseman Ryan Carver (Orange Park, Fla. / Oakleaf) singled home a run as the Storm had three straight singles. Second baseman Austin Bovenzi (Fairport, N.Y. / McQuaid Jesuit) was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with one out. Armstrong plated two runs with a two-run single. After a pitching change, a groundout advanced two runners into scoring position. Browning singled to centerfield, two runs scored when the centerfielder misplayed the ball.
Concord pulled off one final rally in the bottom of the seventh inning with three runs. The Mountain Lions won game one 12-11 on a sacrifice fly.
Browning led the way with three hits and three RBI with two runs. Armstrong added two hits, two RBI and three runs in the game. Erzen, Carver and Bovenzi all had two hits each in the first game.
Christopher Mutter (Cleves, Ohio / Taylor) threw two scoreless innings out of the bullpen with one hit allowed and one strikeout.
After 23 runs were scored in the first game, seven were scored in the second game. Concord won the nightcap with a 4-3 win in the final inning.
In the third inning, Lake Erie scored first for the second straight game. Bovenzi and Armstrong opened the inning with a single and double, respectively. First baseman Wes Birchmeier (Miamisburg, Ohio / Miamisburg) doubled home both runners for the 2-0 Storm lead.
Concord gained a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning with three runs.
The Storm tied the game in the sixth inning with a run. Erzen reached on a fielder's choice, and then stole second base. Erzen crossed the dish on a fielding error by the centerfielder.
In the bottom of the seventh, Concord swept the doubleheader with a RBI single for the 4-3 win.
Armstrong went three-for-four in game two with a double and a run scored. Williams added two hits along with Bovenzi.
Connor Ryan (Strongsville, Ohio / Strongsville) allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings of work. He scattered six hits in a no decision.
"The start we got from Connor in game two was arguably the best start we've had so far. It doesn't feel like it but game three is probably the best game we played all around all series."
"The good thing is we have another crack at it here soon. Another opportunity to learn and get going on the right foot leading into conference play."
The Storm will conclude non-conference play next Wednesday (March 15) with a doubleheader in Charleston, West Virginia against Charleston.