PAINESVILLE, Ohio- The Lake Erie College baseball team split the opening GLIAC doubleheader at home on Saturday (March 25) afternoon with the Findlay Oilers.
The Storm defeated the Oilers 4-2 in the first game and the Oilers took the nightcap with a 4-2 victory.
"We were able to get out in front early against Rodesky, one of the best guys that we are going to face this year. Offensively in the first game, we were able to get ahead early, and force them to throw a lot of pitches, which I was happy with," said Cameron Castro, the Storm's head coach.
The Storm opened the scoring in the second inning. Sam Browning (Cincinnati, Ohio / Archbishop McNicholas) led off with a walk and moved to second on a groundout. Rees Rua (Amherst, Ohio / Amherst Steele) doubled home Browning with a RBI double to right center. Ryan Carver (
Orange Park, Fla. / Oakleaf) followed with a walk. Austin Bovenzi (Fairport, N.Y. / McQuaid Jesuit) singled home both Rua and Carver, pushing the lead to 3-0.
"We were able to get out in front early against Rodesky, one of the best guys that we are going to face this year. Offensively in the first game, we were able to get ahead early, and force them to throw a lot of pitches, which I was happy with."
Findlay cut the lead to 3-2 with a pair of runs in the third inning.
Lake Erie added an insurance run in the sixth inning. Browning laced a one out double to left field and then was lifted for a pinch runner. Carver plated the run with a RBI single, making it 4-2 in favor of the Storm.
Michael Stryffeler (Sagamore Hills, Ohio / Padua Franciscan) pitched six and two thirds innings in his first start of the year. He allowed two runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. Ryan Middendorf (West Chester, Ohio / Lakota East) ended the game with a bases-loaded strikeout for his first save.
"It was really cool to see Stryffeler's first start of the year. He had been so good out of the pen so he was an obvious choice to get the opportunity. He didn't beat a beat. He commanded the zone, threw multiple pitches for strikes on a tough day to pitch. He was phenomenal."
Lake Erie jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Caleb Waller singled and came around to score on Wes Birchmeier (Miamisburg, Ohio / Miamisburg)'s third homerun of the year. Birchmeier blasted a two-run homerun to right field.
"Offensively, Birchmeier's blast in the first was huge and got us off to a good start."
Findlay answered with two runs in the top of the third, tying the game. The Oilers took a 3-2 lead with a run in the fifth.
Findlay completed the scoring with a run in the 9th inning. Lake Erie fell 4-2 in the nightcap.
"We struggled to get leadoff men on base so it was tough to get things rolling and take advantage of some situations."
Birchmeier had two hits in the second game, as six other players had a hit.
"Brian's outing was the best he has had all year. That's the best outing he's had. He's filling up the zone with his fastball, slider and changeup."
The Storm will resume the series with a doubleheader on Monday (March 27), starting at 12:00 PM.
"Monday we will be able to come back and we have some quality arms on our schedule to throw. We will take chances going up against a ranked team in the region and a team that has received votes nationally. I'm excited to see where we are at on Monday afternoon."