Storm Makes History With 19-4 Rout of Division I Cleveland State

Matt Toth
Matt Toth

AVON, OHIO – The Lake Erie College baseball program has made steady strides since third-year head coach Brian McGee took over prior to the 2008 season. On Sunday (March 28), the Storm took its biggest step forward to date.

Sophomores Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) and Matt Lott (Newark, Ohio/Newark Catholic) homered and freshman Adam Beach (Vermillion, Ohio/Vermillion) tossed six solid innings to win his third straight start as the Storm (9-8) routed NCAA Division I Cleveland State University, 19-4, in a steady drizzle at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon.

“If we do the things we are supposed to do on the field, and play our style, these guys believe they can beat anybody,” McGee said following the game. “Today was a day where we did those things and the result was really good. We’ve been able to play well for the past few games and hopefully we can continue to do that moving forward.”

Matt Morgan (Indian Lake, Ohio/Russells Point), another sophomore, had four hits and drove in three runs in what was not only Lake Erie’s first win against a Division I opponent, but the program’s first game, period, against a foe from NCAA’s top level.

The win was the Storm’s school record-tying fifth straight and moved the team above .500 this late into a season for the first time in the program’s nine-year history.

“We’ve made tremendous strides as a program, but it’s not as important as where we are as where we are going, and we are going in a great direction,” said McGee. “I’m really proud of our coaching staff and the players who believe in this program and work hard every day at getting better.”

Toth and Morgan each singled in a run in the second inning for a 2-0 lead. The Vikings tied the score with single runs in the second and third.

But after that, it was all Lake Erie as the Storm scored three runs in three consecutive innings to put the game away and then capped the day with a seven-run eighth inning.

“I think early on, our guys had some jitters and maybe some nerves about playing a Division I team, but they were really excited about the opportunity as well,” McGee said. “After the first few innings, we seemed to settle in and start to play our way- hard and aggressive- and just got rolling.”

Freshman Zach Mosbarger (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine) scored classmate Pat Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) on a groundout in the fourth to give the Storm the lead. Toth then delivered the big blow, hitting his second two-run home run in any many games to put Lake Erie up 5-2.

In the fifth, freshman Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) singled home Lott, Kilway scored on a wild pitch and Morgan drove in Blood to make it an 8-2 game.

Lott was responsible for all the scoring in the sixth, crushing a three-run homer to left field and pushing the Lake Erie lead to nine runs at 11-2.

The Storm then produced its biggest inning of the season in the eighth, scoring seven times, despite only getting one hit in the frame. Viking pitchers issued seven walks in the inning, hit a batter and threw two wild pitches. Morgan’s RBI single was the only hit of the inning.

Other than the single runs in the second and third innings, the Vikings could do little against Beach (3-0), who scattered five hits in his six innings of work. With the wet weather making it difficult to grip the ball at times, Beach did walk four batters and hit three, but struck out a career-high nine hitters, including the first five outs of the game, and escaped a couple early jams.

“Adam was fantastic today,” said McGee. “He spotted his fastball really well. And he battled through the early part of the game when he didn’t have his best stuff or great control. But he just kept going after guys and attacking. He has a very tough mentality, which is rare in first-year pitchers.  

Freshman Pat Sinko (Hudson, Ohio/Garfield Heights Trinity) came on in relief and threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts before giving up a pair of runs in the ninth.

Toth drove in a career-high four runs and has six RBI in the last two games. Morgan matched his career-high for both hits and RBI in the game. Lott and Kilway each scored four times in the contest. Both players, along with Blood, had two hits in the game. Mosbarger drove in three runs, a career high.

The 19 runs scored were the most by Lake Erie since a 22-1 win over Case Western Reserve University on March 19, 2009.

The Storm will get its second straight shot at a Division I foe on Tuesday, March 30, when it travels to the University of Akron for a 3:30 p.m. tilt at Lee Jackson Field.