PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Sunday's (April 15) Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) doubleheader saw a little bit of everything, as the Lake Erie College baseball team and the University of Findlay combined for 54 runs, 18 pitching changes and 10 home runs in splitting the two games at Braggs Field.
Lake Erie (18-15, 14-6 GLIAC), which hit six home runs on the day, won the first game 13-12 to claim the series and extend its winning streak to six games, but the visiting Oilers (13-20, 6-14 GLIAC) held off the Storm in the nightcap 16-12.
The Storm hit four homers in the opener, but it was a two-out seventh inning single by senior 2B Brayan Cacique (Caracas, Venezuela/John I. Leonard/Lakeland C.C.) that finally put away the Oilers. Junior 3B Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) homered twice, classmate Pat Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) went deep for the second straight day and fifth-year senior C Nick Lovick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) cleared the fence for the first time this season.
(Watch video of Cacique's game-winning hit below)
Blood and Kilway each homered during a five-run fifth that gave LEC a 11-7 lead. But the Oilers battled back off closer Doug Fox (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) and rallied to take a 12-11 lead in the sixth, tying it up on a two-run shot by Tommy Roush and then going ahead on a sacrifice fly by Dylan Cintula.
The Storm tied it at 12-12 in their half of the sixth when senior 1B Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) singled up the middle to score classmate Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King), setting the stage for Cacique's winning hit the next inning.
Junior Pat Sinko (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson), the fifth Lake Erie pitcher, earned the win (1-0) with a perfect inning of relief. Alex Williams (0-3) allowed two runs on three hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings of relief and suffered the loss.
Blood, Lovick and Toth each had two hits. Blood drove in four, Kilway three and Cacique and freshman Aaron Lindgren (Willoughby, Ohio/South) each had two RBI. Toth scored three times and three others scored two runs apiece. Reid Rothenbuhler had three hits for the Oilers in game one, while Roush and Riley Christian each had two. Roush finished with four RBI and Christian scored three times.
Findlay started the game two scoring with a two-run home run by Blake Schmenk in the top of the first, but the Storm responded with a five-spot in the bottom half. Cacique started a string of four-straight hits with a RBI double and Blood capped the scoring spree with a two-run single through the left side.
Findlay came right and scored a run in the second and then put up eight in the third off four Storm pitchers. The big blow was a grand slam by Victor Migliore. The Oilers sent 14 men to the plate in the inning.
Roush homered again with one out in the fifth and Findlay added two more unearned runs after a pair of errors to make it 14-5. Leeworthy and Lindgren hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the fifth and Blood had another RBI hit as the Storm scored five times to cut the margin to 14-10.
But once again the Oilers came right back, plating two in the sixth to push the lead back to six. Those runs would be needed, as the Storm scored two of their own in the bottom half on a two-out, two-run double to left center by Lindgren.
The drama continued into the bottom of the seventh as the Storm loaded the bases before Migliore plunked Cacique with the bases loaded to make it a three-run game and bring the winning run to the plate. But despite running a full count on Kilway, Migliore got him to hit a grounder to second for the game-ending double play.
Cacique and Lindgren each had three hits in game two while four other players had two hits. Blood was one of those players and drove in three runs, giving him seven RBI on the day. Lindgren had four RBI and Cacique, Leeworthy and Kilway each had two.
Findlay starter Ethan James (2-3) earned the win despite allowing 10 runs – all earned – on 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings. Migliore, the third Oiler pitcher, picked up his first save.
Freshman Russ Hogue (Belle Center, Ohio/Indian Lake) suffered the loss. He (0-2)was charged with six runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings. Overall, the Storm used six pitchers in the second game.
The Storm, who have now won seven of their last nine, step out of conference play on Wednesday, April 18, for a single home-game against traditional nonleague rival Mercyhurst University. First pitch at Braggs Field will be at 3 p.m.