MINERVA, Ohio- The Lake Erie College baseball team opened Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play with a doubleheader against the Walsh University Cavaliers on Sunday (March 19).
The Storm fell in game one, 6-5 and by a score of 7-3 in the nightcap.
"We just got beat," said Storm head coach Cameron Castro about game one. "They strung some hits together and clawed their way back into it. I thought Connor gave us a good start but they got to him late. That's going to happen. We came out of the gate hot but tapered off a bit too soon."
Lake Erie scored first in the opening game of the day. Rees Rua (Amherst, Ohio / Amherst Steele) opened the second inning with an infield single. Two batters later, Nathan Erzen (Brookpark, Ohio / Berea-Midpark) walked to move Rua to second base. Rua moved to third on a stolen base and scored on an E2, while Erzen moved to second base. Caleb Waller (Vermilion, Ohio / Vermilion) singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Ryan Carver (Orange Park, Fla. / Oakleaf) doubled home both runners, giving Lake Erie a 3-0 lead.
Walsh got a run back in the bottom half of the second on a homerun.
The Storm added two more runs in the top of the fourth. Nigel Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio / La Salle) started the inning with a single. Williams moved to second on an error on a fielder's choice attempt that Waller reached on. Waller moved to second base on a groundout, setting the table for Austin Bovenzi (Fairport, N.Y. / McQuaid Jesuit). Bovenzi singled home both runners with a two-run single. The Storm led 5-1 after three and a half innings.
The Cavaliers tied the game at five in the fifth inning with a four-run inning.
Both teams exchanged zeroes as the game entered extra innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Walsh walked off with a bases loaded RBI single. Walsh took game one 6-5.
Waller and Williams each had two hits in the first game.
Michael Stryffeler (Sagamore Hills, Ohio / Padua Franciscan) pitched well out of the bullpen. He allowed one run on four hits in three and one third innings of relief work. He got six of his ten outs via strikeout.
"Stryffeler's outing out of the 'pen was nothing short of terrific. We don't even have a chance to win that game without him there."
"And then, in the nightcap, we just didn't do enough. Thought we got away from our game plan offensively. Had some opportunities but didn't take advantage," said Castro about the second game.
Walsh started the nightcap with three runs in the first inning.
Waller began the second inning with a solo homerun to right field. Waller's blast cut the Walsh lead to 3-1.
The Cavaliers added two more runs in the bottom of the third and fifth innings, making the lead 7-1.
Lake Erie scored two runs in the sixth inning, pulling within four runs. Sam Browning (Cincinnati, Ohio / Archbishop McNicholas) singled and scored on a Wes Birchmeier (Miamisburg, Ohio / Miamisburg) RBI double. Birchmeier moved to third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball.
Waller, Birchmeier and Rua had two hits each in the game.
Ryan Middendorf (West Chester, Ohio / Lakota East) pitched a scoreless sixth inning in his season debut.
"Overall, we picked it up really well defensively. Probably the best two games we've played in the field to date. Good thing is we have a day to re-focus and re-commit tomorrow and get ready for Tuesday."
The Storm will resume the series with the Cavaliers on Tuesday (March 21) with a doubleheader starting at 1:00 PM.