Storm Offense Explodes for Wednesday Sweep

Matt Toth (Photo by Timothy Sofranko)
Matt Toth (Photo by Timothy Sofranko)

CLEARWATER, FLA. –  Brayan Cacique homered twice, including the game-winning three-run shot in the eighth inning, and Ryan Rua (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst Steele) hit his first home run of the year as the pair combined for five hits and eight runs batted in to lead the Lake Erie College baseball team to a wild 16-14 come-from-behind win over Oakland City University on Wednesday afternoon (March 9) at the Winning Inning Academy Tournament in Clearwater, Fla.

The Storm (2-2) followed its first victory of the season with a 13-8 win over Cedarville University on the strength of a career-high five hits by junior Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) and a fantastic relief outing from classmate Matt Vanni (Willowick, Ohio/Cleveland Benedictine) in the day's second game.

Lake Erie trailed the opener 10-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, but scored three times, including a pair of unearned runs, in the fourth and twice in the fifth to cut the deficit to 10-7.

Oakland City scored two runs on an error in the sixth, but the Storm answered with a three-run blast by Rua in the bottom half of the inning.  A Harry Turney two-run single in the eighth pushed the Oakland City lead to 14-10.

But in the bottom of the frame, the Storm had its biggest inning of the young season.  Rua drove in a run and Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) followed with a two-run single. Then with two on and two out Cacique drilled a shot over the fence in left to take the lead.   

Sophomore Jimmie Shaw (Holland, Ohio/Toledo St. John) and redshirt sophomore J.D. Ingalls (Madison, Ohio/Madison) combined for a hitless ninth to close it out.  Sophomore Patrick Sinko (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson), who recorded the final out of the eighth, was credited with the win (1-0).  Ingalls earned his first save.

Seven Storm hitters finished with at least two hits. Rua and Cacique each drove in four runs and Leeworthy finished with three RBI.  Logan Mohr had three hits and Jonas Cueche drove in three runs for the Mighty Oaks (8-1), who suffered their first defeat of the season.

In game two, the Storm again came from behind, this time after trailing 6-4 through three innings.  Lake Erie pulled ahead for good with a five-run sixth.  Toth and Rua hit back-to-back two-run doubles and senior Brandon James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) drove in a run to give the Storm a 10-6 lead.

Leeworthy added a sacrifice fly in the eighth and sophomore Zach Mosbarger (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Belelfontaine) and Toth had RBI's in the ninth.

Vanni (1-0) meanwhile dominated in relief in just his second collegiate pitching appearance.  After relieving starter Glenn Stewart (Strattanville, Pa./Clarion Limestone)  with two outs in the third, he threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings before giving up a pair of runs in the ninth. He surrendered just two runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and just one walk in 5 2/3 innings. Shaw came on to record the final out.      

Toth went 5-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI while Rua had two hits and a pair of runs driven in and James finished with three RBI.

Alex Beelen went 4-for-5 at the plate with two RBI and Nate Davenport hit a pair of doubles for the Yellow Jackets (5-2).

After an off day, the Storm wraps up its spring break trip with a doubleheader against Lock Haven University on Friday, March 11, in Clearwater.

-LEC-