PAINESVILLE, Ohio- The Lake Erie College baseball team opened the month of April with a doubleheader at home against the Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals on Saturday (April 1).
The Storm came back to win the opener, 8-7 and fell 5-1 in the nightcap.
The Storm loaded the bases in the bottom of the third. Nigel Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio / La Salle) singled home a run with an infield single. Rees Rua (Amherst, Ohio / Amherst Steele) followed with a bases loaded walk, making it 2-0 Storm.
In the fourth inning, Jacob Armstrong (Clarkston, Mich. / Clarkston) opened the frame with a double. He moved to third on a groundout and scored on a throwing error. Another throwing error put runners on the corners. Sam Browning (Cincinnati, Ohio / Archbishop McNicholas) plated both runs with a three-run homerun to center field. Lake Erie led 6-0 after four innings.
Saginaw Valley State scored seven runs in the fifth to take a 7-6 lead.
Lake Erie answered back with two runs in the bottom half of the fifth. The Storm loaded the bases on a walk, hit by pitch and a single. Wes Birchmeier (Miamisburg, Ohio / Miamisburg) plated one run with a fielder's choice. A throwing error on the next play allowed the winning run to cross the plate.
Mitch Sorensen (Avon Lake, Ohio / Avon Lake) came in for the save and worked around the tying run at second base as the Storm won the first game 8-7.
Williams had three hits while Nathan Erzen (Brookpark, Ohio / Berea-Midpark) had two hits in the game. Erzen and Browning each scored two runs each.
Aaron Kucia (Brunswick, Ohio / Cuyahoga Heights) threw one and two thirds of scoreless relief with one hit and one strikeout.
"Today was really a tale of two games," said Storm head coach Cameron Castro. "Sam's three run homerun in game one was a big moment for us we gave the momentum right back. Luckily we were resilient enough to keep the status quo and scratched a couple across late. Aaron was great in that regard. And what Mitch did was no small feat. We talked before the game about him closing game one and then starting game two and he was great in that role."
Erzen opened the game with a solo leadoff homerun in the bottom of the first for Lake Erie.
Saginaw Valley took a 2-1 lead with a run in the third and fourth innings. The Cardinals added two runs in the eighth inning for a 4-1 lead.
The Storm threatened with the bases loaded in the eighth inning but could not close the lead.
The Cardinals pushed the lead to 5-1 with a run in the ninth inning.
Erzen had two hits in the second game, giving him four total for the day.
"In the second game, we just didn't make enough adjustments and squandered opportunities due to lack of execution. After Erzen's solo shot, we kind of fell asleep, we coasted. And then woke up when it was too late."
Lake Erie and Saginaw Valley will resume the series on Sunday (April 2) with a doubleheader starting at 12:00 PM.
"I think we'll be better in those situations next time around. It's part of the learning curve for us. Figuring out just how important the small parts of the game can be."