EASTLAKE, OHIO – Since scoring 19 runs in a 19-4 rout of Cleveland State on Sunday, the Lake Erie College baseball team had scored just six total runs in three games since, all losses. The Storm offense broke out a bit on Thursday afternoon (April 1) at Classic Park, scoring eight times, but visiting Ohio Dominican University managed one more run in 9-8 victory.
Despite a 16-hit attack, the Storm (9-12) never led in suffering its fourth straight defeat. And a late rally nearly ended the losing skid.
Trailing by five heading into the bottom of the eight, Lake Erie rallied for four runs off the Ohio Dominican (7-18) bullpen. Then with two outs in the ninth, sophomore Ryan Rua (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst) sent a ball to the deepest part of the park off Kyle Gore, but Evan Shaw tracked it down at the base of the warning track for the game's final out.
Ohio Dominican scored twice in the top of the first, getting a sacrifice fly from Eian Banks and an RBI double from J.T. Feldkamp. The Storm responded with a run of its own when Rua singled following a double by classmate Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King).
Despite putting several runners on in each frame, the Panthers added only single runs in the third and the fifth innings to push the lead to 4-1.
Rua doubled off the center field wall in the sixth to score freshman Zach Mosbarger (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine) and then scored on a single by junior Nick Lovick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor), cutting the deficit to 4-3.
After the Panthers added a run in the top of the seventh, sophomore Matt Lott (Newark, Ohio/Newark Catholic) led off the seventh with his third home run of the season to again make it a one-run game. But ODU responded with four runs in its next at-bat, with Evan Shaw drilling a two-run shot to left field off Pat Sinko (Hudson, Ohio/Trinity) to push the lead back to three at 7-4.
Later in the inning, Banks brought in two more runs with a double off the right-center field fence, making it 9-4.
Lake Erie had one more rally in it. Two runs scored when Rua singled and the ball was misplayed by left fielder John Bowron. Lovick followed with an RBI single and later scored on a base hit by Lott to bring the Storm within one.
But after surrendering the Lott single, Gore buckled down and escaped the inning and retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.
Rua finished with three hits and three RBI while Mosbarger also had three hits, a career high. Toth, Lott, James and Lovick all had two hits.
Nick Venditti (3-1) earned the mound win for the Panthers, allowing four runs on 10 hits in seven innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. Sophomore Glen Stewart (Strattanville, Pa./Clarion Limestone) made his third start of the season for Lake Erie. He went four innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with a strikeout and no walks and was charged with the loss (0-1).
After an off-day on Friday, the two teams will play a doubleheader at Classic Park on Saturday, April 3, beginning at 1 p.m.