Pitching, Defense Lead Storm Past Falcons

Pitching, Defense Lead Storm Past Falcons
AVON, Ohio – Lake Erie freshman pitchers Logan Nordquist (Alliance, Ohio/Alliance) and Adam Beach (Vermilion, Ohio/Vermilion) scattered seven hits and got the help of some outstanding defense to lead the Storm to a 2-1 win over Notre Dame (Ohio) at All-Pro Freight Stadium on Wednesday (April 21) evening.
Nordquist, making his first career start, walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, but settled down and retired the next 11 batters in order in a dominating performance. He struck out two in that stretch and only one ball left the infield.
The Storm (15-23) manufactured a run in the third inning to open the scoring. Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) singled to left and moved to third after a sacrifice bunt by Matt Vanni (Willowick, Ohio/Willowick) and a groundout to second by Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King). Ryan Rua (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst) followed with an RBI single to give the Storm a 1-0 lead.
Nordquist ran into his only trouble in the bottom of the fifth as the Falcons started the inning with a pair of singles, putting runners on the corners. But Nordquist stranded both runners by retiring the next three hitters in order.
The Storm offense backed up Nordquist with a run in the sixth inning. Patrick Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) walked to start the inning and moved to second on a single by Matt Lott (Newark, Ohio/Newark Catholic). Kilway scored from second on a lined single to center by Mike Morgan (Indian Lake, Ohio/Russells Point).
The Falcons (26-15) got the run back in the sixth as Jon Koepf singled off Nordquist to start the inning. Beach came on in relief but would later allow an RBI single to Brett Zientarski later in the inning to trim the lead to 2-1. But with runners on second and third, Beach struck out Travis Brown to end the inning.
Beach ran into a jam in the eighth inning as the Falcons loaded the bases with one out on a pair of singles and a walk. But the defense backed him up as Brown grounded to Morgan at second to start a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning, sending the Storm dugout into a frenzy.
The Storm offense failed to add insurance in the ninth despite putting runners on the corners. Beach allowed a leadoff single to Jesse Bartle, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. With pinch-hitter Benji Jarabeck at the plate, Bartle bolted for third, but Lake Erie catcher Nick Lovick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) made a perfect throw to Blood at third for the second out. Beach got Jarabeck looking on the next pitch to end the game.
Nordquist (2-1) earned the win, surrendering just three hits in five-plus innings with one walk and two strikeouts. Beach picked up his first career save, tossing the final four innings and surrendering a run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Toth and Lott each had two hits apiece for the Storm, while Zientarski was the only Falcon with two hits.
Lake Erie is now just three wins away from breaking the single-season wins mark (17) set in 2008. The Storm has the opportunity to tie the mark on Thursday (April 22) afternoon in a doubleheader at Painesville's Recreation Park at 2 p.m. against Salem International.