BOWLING GREEN, Ohio—With a 14-6 win in game one of a doubleheader sweep over Akron on Saturday afternoon, head coach Danny Schmitz became just the third skipper in Mid-American Conference history with 600 career victories. After being presented with a team-signed ball between games, the Falcons would get Coach Schmitz his 601st career win with a 5-1 defeat in the night cap. With the two wins, the Falcons are now riding a six-game winning streak, improving their record to 13-19 (8-6 MAC) in the process.
In game one, the Falcons tied their season-high for runs in a game, beating the visiting Zips 14-6. Jeremy Shay led the charge for the Orange and Brown, knocking two home runs to the opposite field in a game that he went 4-for-5 in with three runs scored and four RBI. Junior Andrew Kubuski also reached base via walk in the contest to extend his on-base streak to 20 consecutive games.
Cody Apthorpe battled through five innings of work, as the defense committed four errors behind him which would lead to five unearned runs. Apthorpe went five innings, allowing just one earned run. The earned run that crossed the plate in the top of the third against Apthorpe snapped a streak of 25 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.
All of the offense came in the early going of the first game, as the Falcons would lead 11-3 after just three innings.
Shay’s two-run home run to right field got the Falcons on the board in the first inning, as Jesse Rait was driven in on the big fly. Rait had tripled to get on base in the inning.
Akron would take the lead in the top of the third, as the Falcons’ defense of old returned, committing two errors in the inning, leading to the final two runs of the inning being unearned.
Bowling Green would respond in a huge way, sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring nine to take the lead for good after the bottom of the third. After a leadoff walk to Kubuski, three of the next four batters would get on base. Following a strikeout, the Falcons had the bases loaded and two outs. The next six batters would proceed to reach base, the big play of the inning coming on a three-run error committed by the Akron defense. Rait would hit a fly ball into the left-centerfield gap, a ball that Akron LF Jared Turocy would amazingly run down. However, Turocy would drop the ball, allowing all three Falcons to come around and score.
The Zips would get three more unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning, as the Bowling Green defense committed two more errors in the frame.
Bowling Green would leave no doubt, scoring three runs over the next two innings to give Ethan McKenney a 14-6 lead as he entered the game in the top of the sixth.
McKenney would go the final four innings for his second save of the season, striking out four and allowing just two hits.
Following the on-field ceremony to recognize Schmitz between games, redshirt junior Mike Frank would make sure that the Falcons came home with the game two victory, as well.
Frank would dominate Akron on Saturday afternoon, going eight innings and striking out a career-high eight Akron batters. Frank would carry a no-hitter with him until a one-out single in the top of the seventh. The Maumee, Ohio native would pick up his third win of the season, improving his overall record to 3-5.
A Logan Walker single with one out in the inning would score Shay to get the Falcons on the scoreboard. Jake Thomas would eventually single to score two runners and put the Falcons on top 3-0.
Shay would double home Rait in the bottom of the fifth to put Bowling Green on top 4-0. Rait had led off the inning with an infield single, advancing to second on a throwing error by Akron. As he did all afternoon, Shay would deliver with his third extra-base hit of the afternoon for the RBI.
After breaking up Frank’s no-hitter with one out in the seventh, Devan Ahart would come around to score from first on a two-out double into right-centerfield.
The Falcons would add an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Senior Nick Bruns did not give the Zips a chance in the ninth, finishing off the doubleheader sweep of Akron.
Riding a six-game winning streak, the Falcons will hand the ball to Trevor Blaylock on Sunday afternoon. Coach Schmitz’s ball club will look for their second straight sweep in Mid-American Conference play, with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Warren E. Steller Field.
Ball State 5, Miami 2
Ball State's baseball team defeated Miami University 5-2 in Oxford, Ohio, to improve to 17-18 overall and 6-8 in the Mid-American Conference. With the loss, the RedHawks fall to 8-6 in league play and 17-19 overall.
T.J. Weir started the game on the mound and earned the victory to improve to 2-1 on the season. Weir pitched eight innings, allowing only two earned runs on seven hits and struck out four in the victory. Miles Moeller pitched the ninth inning and allowed only one hit, while striking out one to earn the save.
The Cardinals fell behind 1-0 after Miami University scored in the bottom of the second inning, but Ball State answered immediately with its first run of the game in the top of the third.
Blake Beemer doubled in the third with one out and scored on a Sean Godfrey single and fielding error by MU's centerfielder.
Miami University added one more run in the bottom of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead in the contest before the Cardinals busted out for three runs in the fifth and one run in the sixth to seal the MAC victory.
In the fifth, Wes Winkle opened the inning by reaching first after being hit by a pitch. He stole second and Beemer walked to set the stage for a Godfrey double that scored Winkle and moved Beemer to third. Billy Wellman grounded out to shortstop, scoring Beemer, and then Kevin Schlotter's single plated Godfrey and put Ball State ahead 4-2.
The Cardinals added a sixth inning insurance run when Ryan Spaulding led off the inning with a single, followed by a Sam Tidaback sacrifice bunt and a throwing error by the RedHawks. With runners on second and third, Elbert Devarie walked to load the bases and Winkle's fielder's choice grounder scored Spaulding and gave the Cardinals the 5-2 lead.
Beemer was 2-for-3 on the day with two runs scored, while Godfrey managed a 2-for-4 performance from the plate with one run-batted-in and one run scored. Wellman was 2-for-5 with an RBI, while Schlotter tallied one hit in four at-bats plus knocked in one run.
The two teams will complete the three-game series with a 1 p.m. contest Sunday. The series is even at one game apiece after Miami University posted the Friday 1-0 victory and the Cardinals Saturday win.
Toledo 11, Central Michigan 0
TOLEDO, OH - Senior LHP Kyle Shaw worked a three-hit jewel and paced Toledo to an 11-0 victory against Central Michigan on Saturday in its Mid-American Conference series opener at Scott Park. With the blanking, the Rockets improve to 13-23 overall, 5-8 in the league.
Shaw (4-5) went the distance for the third time in his UT career and faced only 33 batters in earning his team-best fourth triumph of the 2013 campaign. The LaGrange, OH native kept the Chippewas hitters off-balance all afternoon and finished with a career-high nine strikeouts and no walks. He retired the opposition in order on five occasions and the most batters he faced in an inning was six in the second frame.
Offensively, the Rockets pounded out 11 hits against a trio of CMU hurlers, including senior CF Ben Hammer (2-for-3, 2 RS, 2 RBI), junior LF Tyler Grogg (2-for-4, 2 RS, RBI), junior RF Jacob North (2-for-3, RS, 2 RBI) and freshman 2B Deion Tansel (2-for-4, 3 RS) with two hits each.
UT plated runs in seven different innings to post its second shutout of the spring and in the process snapped a five-game losing skid.
The Chippewas’ (16-20, 5-8 MAC) RHP Jordan Foley was tagged with the loss, allowing seven runs (six earned) on eight hits with two strikeouts in 4.0 innings. Foley (6-3) came into today’s game leading the MAC with a 1.02 ERA in 61.2 frames.
The Rockets got off to a great start, plating two runs in their opening at-bat. The home team took advantage of a sacrifice fly by Hammer and a RBI groundout by senior 1B Matt Delewski (1-for-4, 2 RS, 2 RBI) to assume a lead they would not relinquish.
Central Michigan had a golden opportunity to cut into the deficit in the second frame and had the bases loaded with only one out, but UT’s Shaw recorded back-to-back punchouts to keep it a two-run difference.
Toledo used the momentum from the previous half inning and received a two-out RBI single by Grogg to push its margin to 3-0.
UT continued to pour it on offensively in the third frame and added two tallies to make it a five-run difference. The Rockets scored their first run on a CMU infield throwing error with a runner on second base and North followed with a two-out RBI double.
Toledo was relentless at the dish and plated two more runs in the fourth inning to make the score 7-0. UT registered one of the runs on another CMU miscue and the other on a RBI single by Delewski to end the afternoon for CMU’s Foley.
The Rockets then finished off the scoring with one run each in the fifth and sixth innings and two more in the eighth to make the final tally 11-0. The 2012 MAC West Division champions took advantage of another Central Michigan error in the fifth, a sacrifice fly by Hammer in the sixth and four-consecutive hit batters by CMU RHP Joe Ocho in the eighth to equal its season high in runs.
The division rivals will wrap up their three-game series tomorrow with a doubleheader beginning at 12:05 p.m. at Scott Park. Junior RHP Cameron Palmer and junior LHP Ryan Wilkinson are expected to start on the mound for the Rockets against the Chippewas on Sunday.
Buffalo 6, Kent State 5
BUFFALO, NY - The Buffalo baseball team christened its first true home game of the 2013 season in a special way Saturday afternoon, coming from a 5-1 deficit to shock the defending conference champion Kent State (19-17, 9-4 MAC), 6-5. With the win, the Bulls (19-16, 9-4 MAC) are now tied with the Flashes for the Mid-American Conference East Division lead.
The Bulls used runs in sixth and seventh to pull closer, and tied the game with a two run rally with two outs in the eighth. In the ninth, Mike Scarcello drove in Jon Mestas with a bases-loaded groundout to secure the critical win. It was the team's first win over Kent State since 2009 and snapped a 12-game losing streak in the series.
With one out in the ninth, Mestas drew a walk before Thomas Richards nearly brought them both in with a home run, but the ball hit off the upper half of the wall for a double. Mestas held up at first base to wait on the high fly ball, so was only able to make it around to third. The Flashes elected to intentionally walk Mike Burke to face Mike Scarcello with a double play now available.
"That's what you dream about - bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth - and I get fired up when they walked someone intentionally to leave it up to me," Scarcello said. "It was a 1-1 count, I figured he would try and come in on me to keep me from extending my arms and getting a fly ball, and I was fortunate to find the right hole."
He did just that, hitting a high-bouncing grounder deep into the hole at shortstop, who was able to make the force at second but could not turn the double play, allowing Mestas to score the game-winner. That capped an incredible run by the offense, who were able to chip away at the early deficit due to the outstanding effort from freshman Ben Hartz.
In a 1-1 game, Kent State loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth inning against UB starter Mike McGee. Kent State's Evan Campbell hit a pitch sky-high that caught the 35 mile-per-hour wind gusts blowing out to right field for a grand slam. That would end McGee's day, as the Bulls would lean on fellow lefty Hartz to make it through the middle innings.
He would do all that and more, setting down the first nine batters and yielding just one hit over five innings to allow the offense to piecemeal its comeback attempts. A sacrifice fly from Burke in the sixth made it 5-2, and a two-out RBI single from Kyle Figgins in the seventh cut it down to 5-3.
In the eighth, it appeared the comeback would be stalled, as the first two UB batters were retired in order. Scarcello came to the plate and would draw a walk, prompting a Kent State pitching change to its shut-down closer Brian Clark. He would walk Jimmy Topps, and Jason Kanzler would reach on a towering fly ball to left field that not only came back from deep in foul territory, but also plunked down fair and untouched for a single that would score Scarcello. The game would then be tied in the next at bat, when Ryan Tulloch hit a two-out, two-strike single to right field that would score Topps and make it 5-5.
Despite closer River McWilliams warming in the bullpen, Hartz made his way back out to the mound in the ninth, and again set the Flashes down in order. It was a career day for the reliever, who threw a career-high five innings and struck out a career high five batters.
"I wanted to pound the zone, because I knew my defense would make plays behind me," Hartz said. "The team played great, we had a slow start but we put the ball in play and kept at it."
Head coach Ron Torgalski was more than impressed with his young pitcher's day, and his ability to step up when the team needed him most.
"Hartz came in and was lights out. He pitched ahead, and that's what we struggled with early on," Torgalski said. "When you're behind in the count against a team like Kent State, they're going to make you pay, but when you keep them off balance in weather like we had today, you're going to have success."
Along with Hartz's performance, the team received a blue-collar performance from the bottom half of the batting order. The five-through-nine hitters combined to drive in four runs and accounted for five hits and six walks, consistently reviving innings with rallies that led directly to runs.
"For about the last two and a half weeks, the bottom of our order has been hitting it better than the top of our order," Torgalski said. "They've been getting on base and hitting it. They had their struggles early, but they've been working at it. They're squaring the ball up and becoming a bigger part of the offense."
For the game, the Bulls drew eight walks and had ten hits. Scarcello went 1-3 with a pair of walks and the game-winning RBI, while Richards led all hitters with three hits.
The two teams will wrap up the series tomorrow, with a doubleheader at Amherst Audubon starting at 1 pm. Anthony Magovney will start game one, and Mike Burke will close out the series in game two.
Northern Illinois 11, Ohio 2
ATHENS, Ohio – All squared up 2-2 entering the eighth inning, Northern Illinois baseball (15-21, 10-4 MAC) added two runs in the eighth and seven more in the ninth on Ohio (9-27, 5-9 MAC) to defeat the Bobcats, 11-2. The Huskies totaled 17 hits in the game, four of which came from freshman Tommy Hook (Lockport/Lockport Township). The Huskies lead the Mid-American Conference following the win and a Kent State loss at Buffalo today.
“We swung the bats well today and we had our opportunities early. I thought we let a couple opportunities get by us but the guys kept battling and we eventually broke through,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey.
“Tommy had a great a day at the plate. He’s been making some adjustments in his swing and it’s starting to come around. The other thing about Tommy is that he’s such a versatile player us, he’s played a few different spots for us, including three today, and that versatility in the lineup is a good thing to have,” added Mathey. “If Tommy keeps working hard and improves his speed over the summer, he’s got a good chance to be a very good player for us if he continues with his pace.”
The Huskies struck first blood to start the game as NIU strung three hits together, led by Jamison Wells (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly) leadoff double down the left field line. After advancing to third on single by Hook, Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo./Kearney) hit a long fly ball to right field to sacrifice Wells across the plate, 1-0.
Pitcher Eli Anderson (Glenview/New Trier) opened the game brilliantly with two perfect innings and four strikeouts, all of which caught the batters looking.
Ohio would even the game in the bottom of the third following a single that runner scored from third to tie it up, 1-1. The Bobcats took the lead in the next inning after a sacrifice fly by Scott White to make it 2-1.
Anderson found himself in some trouble in the fifth inning after hitting two batters in the inning and a groundout that moved the runners ahead to second and third. With two outs and the Bobcats big bat Jake Madsen up, Anderson intentionally walked Madsen to load the bases for Dan Schmidt, who popped out to Klonowski in shallow right field to end the inning scoreless.
As has been the team’s strength as of late, the Huskies mounted a two out rally in the eighth inning to regain the lead on back-to-back singles by Joe Battaglia (Westchester/St. Joseph) and Brian Sisler (DeKalb/DeKalb). Connor Duckhorn (Darien/Cowley County CC), who entered as a pinch hitter in the sixth, sent a tough fly ball to the gap that fell out of the diving outfielder’s glove to score two runs for the Huskies and give NIU its first lead since the third.
The Huskies tacked on runs in the top of the ninth, loading the bases after a single by Hook, a double by Klonowski and an intentional walk on Jeff Zimmerman (Tinley Park/Andrew). Landon Tenhagen (Burlington, Wis./Madison Area TC) would clear the bases on the triple to right centerfield to make it a 7-2 game.
The Huskies would account for six hits and seven runs in the inning to give Anderson a comfortable lead in the bottom of the ninth.
Anderson completed the day with eight innings pitched, scattering four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts, four looking. Both runs on Anderson were unearned, extending his streak to 18-straight innings without an earned run. He last gave up an earned run in the eighth inning at Central Michigan April 6. In the Mid-American Conference, the junior is 5-0 with a 0.61 ERA, 39 strikeouts and eight walks in 44.0 innings pitched. In his last five starts, Anderson sports a 0.82 WHIP (walks and hits per inning).
“Eli fielded his spot and scattered four hits in eight innings which is pretty good. With the runs we got in the ninth inning, it made it easy to take him out and give him a little bit of rest – a well deserved, well earned inning off,” chuckled Mathey. “I thought one of the key parts of the ball was the first inning, we went out and scored and Eli held them down 1-2-3.”
At the plate, Hook batted 4-for-5 with a run and an RBI while Tenhagen finished 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBI. Despite limited playing time, Duckhorn batted 2-for-3 with a run and three RBI.
The Huskies and the Bobcats will play the final game of the series, beginning at 1 p.m. tomorrow. NIU, the MAC leaders at 10-4, will look to retain that lead behind Klonowski (3-4) on the mound.
Eastern Michigan 9, Western Michigan 5
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – A four-run seventh inning paved the way to the Eastern Michigan University baseball team's series-clinching victory against Western Michigan University, 9-5, Saturday, April 20, at Oestrike Stadium. The Eagles (17-18; 7-7 MAC) have now defeated the Broncos (12-24; 5-8 MAC) 10 straight times dating back to the 2010 campaign and are back to within a game of .500 on the year.
Western Michigan turned a 4-0 deficit into a 5-4 lead with five unanswered tallies in the third and fourth innings. The Green and White surged back in the seventh inning and tacked on one more in the eighth to secure a second-straight win.
Neil Butara (3-5) earned his first Mid-American Conference win of the season in unorthodox fashion. Typically a starter, Butara worked four innings in relief and held WMU batters off the scoreboard while scattering just four hits. He fanned two and walked one. In his first MAC start, Brian Valente came away with a no-decision after giving up five runs (four earned) and six hits over 3.2 innings.
John Rubino (2-for-5) had a fine outing both offensively and defensively. The EMU shortstop was involved in turning a pair of double plays while coming through with the game-winning RBI and his fifth double of the season. Sam Ott (2-for-4) also cashed in his team-best 15th two-bagger of the year, while Jamie Simpson (1-for-5) drove in a pair of runs on his sixth double of the season. Simpson also swiped his ninth base.
Notching a triple was Dae Bowden (1-for-1) in his only at-bat of the afternoon. The three-bagger drove in two runs in EMU's four-run seventh. Daniel Russell and Miles Sorise also recorded an RBI in the game.
WMU batters had 11 hits, six of which were of the infield variety. The top of the lineup produced the bulk of the offense, with hitters one through four combining for seven knocks. On the mound, Pat Haynes (1-1) took the loss in one inning of relief work. Haynes gave up three earned runs on two hits. The Broncos' pitching staff lived on the edge all day as EMU loaded the bases three times.
A walk, an error and a hit batsman loaded the bases with Eagles in the first. Lee Longo nearly missed a grand slam with a long fly just a few feet outside of the left-field foul pole, but drove in the game's first tally on a looper to left center. Simpson then tucked a line drive inside the left-field line for a two-RBI double to make it 3-0.
An inning later, Russell walked for a second straight inning and was driven in by an Ott double up the gap in right center. Ott's two-bagger made it a 4-0 affair.
In the top of the third, Brooks Beilke placed a perfect bunt down the third base line for the second WMU hit of the game. Vinnie Booker was then plunked and Steve Buglione reached with another base knock to load the sacks with nobody out. A sacrifice lineout by Theo Piccirilli got the Broncos on the board and a Jared Kujawa double halved the EMU lead, 4-2.
Booker came up with two out in the fourth and hit an RBI single to left to make it a 4-3 score. Valente gave way to Taylor Dimmerling after allowing two more baserunners. Piccirilli then hit a soft single to third to load the bases. Dimmerling gifted WMU the tying run by hitting Andrew Sohn in the back and a Marquise Gill error at second base allowed the go-ahead run to cross. The Broncos held their first lead of the series, 5-4.
The Eagles loaded the bases again in the fifth. Adam Sonabend led off by reaching on a fielding error, Mitchell McGeein singled and Gill walked. Gill's free pass spelled the end for starter Patrick Borlik and brought Derek Schneider out of the bullpen. Russell worked Schneider to a full count, but looked at a fastball for strike three as WMU held on to a one-run lead.
Good hustle from Rubino resulted in a leadoff double in the sixth. The sophomore poked a shot into right-center and beat out the relay throw to get into scoring position. Longo was hit by a pitch later in the frame and Sonabend walk to fill the sacks for a third time in the contest. Haynes worked himself out of the jam by getting Simpson to ground into a 6-3 inning-ending double play.
Russell delivered the game-tying run with one gone in the seventh on a single through the right side. Wilson scored on the play and Valente was officially off the hook for a loss. Rubino used his speed once again to beat out a double-play ball and recorded an RBI to put the Eagles back on top, 6-5. The scoring was not over yet as Bowden, who came on to pinch run for Longo in the sixth, cranked a two-RBI triple to right-center. That knock put the Eagles back up by three, 8-5.
An unearned tally in the eighth gave the Eagles a four-run lead, 9-5. A Sorsie gapper plated Simpson. Sorise thought he had a triple on the play, but the redshirt sophomore missed second base on the turn and had to settle for a single.
Butara got a double play ball and a strikeout in the ninth to seal his first MAC win of the season.
The series wraps up with a 1 p.m. game Sunday, April 21.