Storm Suffers Setbacks at ODU, but Still in Playoff Hunt

Brandon James (Photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions)
Brandon James (Photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions)

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Lake Erie College baseball team's postseason chances took a hit Thursday (May 5) with a pair of losses on the road at Ohio Dominican University.  The Storm lost 8-2 and 4-3 to fall 1 ½ games behind Saginaw Valley State University for the fourth and final Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament spot, but remains in the hunt with four games remaining for both teams. 

Sean Blackburn  limited the Storm (20-23, 13-17 GLIAC) to just two unearned runs on six hits in a complete game victory in game one. Blackburn (5-2) walked just one and struck out six and got plenty of offensive support from Germaine McAlipine, who homered and drove in four runs.  Austin Grate also homered for the Panthers (19-23, 16-15 GLIAC).

Senior Brandon James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) had two hits and junior Brayan Cacique (Caracas, Venezuela/Lakeland C.C.) had a two-run double for the Storm.  Junior Glenn Stewart (Strattonville, Pa./Clarion Limestone) allowed five runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings to suffer his first defeat (3-1).

In game two, junior Ryan Rua (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst Steele) hit a two-run single in the sixth inning to tie the game at 3-3, but Andrew Powelson singled to lead off the bottom of the inning and eventually scored on a wild pitch with what proved to be the winning run.

Despite the loss, Rua had three hits in the nightcap while James and junior Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) each had two.  Lake Erie left 12 men on base in the second game.

Freshman Brad Raley (Hinkley, Ohio/Medina Highland)struck out three and gave up just one hit in two innings of relief, but that was the Powelson single, and suffered the loss.   

Alex Borgan (5-4) gave up 11 hits and walked three in six innings, but allowed just three runs (two earned). Zane Miller tossed a scoreless seventh for the save.  Bryan Rudolph had two hits and drove in two runs to lead the ODU offense.

With three games separating third through fifth place heading into the final weekend, the Storm hosts Wayne State University for a pair of crucial doubleheaders this weekend beginning Saturday, May 7, at Classic Park in Eastlake. 

Lake Erie needs to finish ahead of Saginaw Valley or tied with Ashland to advance to the postseason.  The Storm lost the season series 3-1 to the Cardinals, but holds the tiebreaker over Ashland having defeated the Eagles three times in four games this season.

-LEC-