PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Sophomore Matt Lott (Newark, Ohio/Newark Catholic) homered in both games and junior Brandon James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) extended his hitting streak to 13 straight, but it wasn't enough to outslug Malone University as the Lake Erie College baseball team dropped a pair of games to the visiting Pioneers, 10-6 and 11-6 in the home finale Saturday (May 1) at Braggs Field.
Malone (32-15) hit seven homers in the two games – including two in one inning by Allen Strouble - to not only sweep the doubleheader, but the four-game season series from the Storm as well.
Game one was a pitchers' duel for the first six innings, with freshman Adam Beach (Vermillion, Ohio/Vermillion) taking a 2-1 lead into the seventh. But Strouble, who had a game-high three hits, homered to lead off the inning and tie the game. Beach was lifted after Matt Hamons reached on an error.
Two sacrifice bunts and an error by reliever J.D. Ingalls (Madison, Ohio/Madison) but runners at second and third with one out. Matt Anderson singled in a run to put the Pioneers ahead and end Ingalls' stint. Alex Scmid singled off Pat Sinko (Hudson, Ohio/Trinity) to score another run. T.J. Rosenberg followed with a single to left that was misplayed by James and allowed three runs to score. Marc Adams followed with a two run home run and then Strouble went deep for the second time in the inning to cap a nine-run frame.
Lake Erie threatened in the bottom of the seventh when Lott led off with his fourth home run of the spring and Matt Vanni (Willowick, Ohio/Benedictine) drove in another run with a single. The Storm then loaded the bases with nobody out and looked to be on the cusp of a possible comeback.
Zach Mosbarger (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine) appeared to beat out an infield hit, but was called out on the play. Even though a run scored on the play, it seemed the momentum shifted back over to Malone. Reliever Bryan Bayer got James and Nick Lovick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) to ground out to end it.
Jeff Shenker, who allowed two runs on five hits in six innings, got the win to improve to 8-0. Beach (4-3) suffered the loss, despite striking out seven in six innings. He allowed two earned runs (three total) on six hits with one walk.
The fireworks continued early in game two. Anderson hit a three-run homer in the first and the Pioneers plated two more in the second for a 5-0 lead. Lake Erie responded with three of its own in the second when Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) and Lott went back-to-back with the long ball. Mike Morgan (Indian Lake, Ohio/Russells Point) homered with one out in the third and Lovick doubled to tie it at 5-5.
It stayed that way until the fifth when the Pioneers scored five times, the big blow a three-run bomb by leadoff hitter Justin Shiftlett. Rosenberg homered in the sixth for an 11-5 lead.
Lott went 3-for-4 in game two with two runs scored and finished five-for-seven on the day. He, James and Leeworthy all drove in two runs.
Shiflett, Rosenberg and Joe Goddard all had three hits for the Pioneers in the second game. Despite allowing five runs in five innings, Todd Liberatore (7-1) got the win on the mound. Reliever Doug Fox (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings, to fall to 1-3 on the year.
Lake Erie closes the season on Sunday, May 2, with a doubleheader at Salem International University. The Storm will look to snap its current four-game losing streak and reach the 20-win mark for the first time in school history beginning at 1 p.m.