McGee Sets Lake Erie Wins Mark as Storm Outlasts Charleston 19-13

McGee Sets Lake Erie Wins Mark as Storm Outlasts Charleston 19-13

PAINESVILLE, OHIO --  Seven players had two or more hits as the Lake Erie College baseball team rallied from a 5-0 first-inning deficit to give head coach Brian McGee his school-record 45th coaching victory in a wild 19-13 win over the University of Charleston (W. Va.) at Appalachian Power Park.

Sophomore Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) doubled twice and matched his career-high with four RBI while classmate Matt Vanni (Willowick, Ohio/Benedictine) score five runs.  Those two, along with sophomore DH Matt Lott (Newark, Ohio/Newark Catholic), each had three hits as the Storm (12-18) won its second straight to take the three-game series.

The Storm has won nearly as many games in three seasons under McGee than it had in its first six seasons of existence.  His 45th win breaks a tie with Ken Krsolovic (2004-2007) for the most coaching wins in Storm baseball history.

But when the game began, it looked like anything but a celebratory day for the Storm.  Thanks to an error and a couple of walks, the Eagles (12-17) put up five runs in their first at-bat to take the early lead.

Undaunted, the Storm came right back, scoring twice on a single by Vanni and an error. A passed ball yielded another run and Toth and junior Brandon James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) followed with run-scoring hits to put Lake Erie up 6-5.

Charleston scored twice in the second and once again in the third to take a 8-6 lead into the middle innings.  But that was where the Storm took command, scoring three in the fourth and four in the fifth before capping the burst with a five-run sixth inning. 

Toth had an RBI doubled to start the scoring in the fourth and then came around on a wild pitch and errant throw by the catcher.  Freshman Pat Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Talmadge), who had a career high four hits and six RBI on Friday night, singled in a run to give the Storm the lead back.

In the fifth, Toth singled in two runs and James and Ryan Rua (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst) each brought runners home.  Then in the sixth, Lott doubled in Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) and scored on an error, Vanni scored on a passed ball, Rua drew a bases loaded walk and eventually came around to score on a throwing error by the pitcher and the Storm took an 18-11 lead into the later innings.

While the offense was hitting on all cylinders, freshman lefthander Trent Vallinger (Poland, Ohio/Poland Seminary) was restoring order on the mound.  After starter Michael Backes (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) lasted just four innings, Vallinger (1-0) entered in the fifth and held Charleston scoreless for three straight innings. He allowed two runs in the eighth and loaded the bases in the ninth, but came back to retire Ross Easterling to end it and pick up his first collegiate win.  He scattered four hits over five innings and did not walk a batter.