CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Lake Erie College baseball team came within two outs of a doubleheader sweep, but had to settle for a split in a pair of nonconference games at the University of Charleston (W. Va.) on Tuesday (March 20). The Storm won game one, 10-2, and led 4-1 going into the last inning of game two before the host rallied for a 5-4 win.
The Kilway brothers played a big role in helping Lake Erie (3-8) to a win in game one. Junior Pat Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs while sophomore Brian Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) earned his second win on the mound with a strong 4 1/3 innings.
The Storm struck early, getting a pair of runs in the first inning. Senior Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) scored on a wild throw by catcher Igor Molina on a double-steal attempt. Kilway then singled in senior Brayan Cacique (Caracas, Venezuela/John I. Leonard/Lakeland C.C.) for a 2-0 lead. Senior Kyle Kemp (Fredericksburg, Va./James Monroe) singled in a run in the fourth and classmate Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) followed with a two-run hit for a 5-0 lead.
Kilway again drove in Cacique with a hit in the fourth and Toth had a two-run single in the fifth to push the margin in 8-1.
The younger Kilway (2-1), meanwhile, limited the Golden Eagles (12-9) to just three hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked walk but allowed just one earned run (two total) but left with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth.
Junior all-conference reliever Doug Fox (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) came out of the pen and got out of the jam, striking out Corey Hill and Ryan Foster to end the threat. He followed that up with two scoreless innings to close out the game while the Storm offense added two more runs in the sixth.
Fox has not allowed a run in his five appearances this season, totaling 8 1/3 innings. He allowed two hits and struck out three in game one.
Cacique and junior Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) each had two hits in the opener, with the former scoring three times in the game and extending his hitting streak to eight games. Sophomore Reid Rizzo (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) went 0-for-4, snapping his seven-game hitting streak. Andrew Stichter had two hits and drove in a pair of runs for Charleston. Travis Zimmerman gave up two runs in two innings and took the loss.
The 10 runs scored were a season high for LEC.
In game two, freshman Russ Hogue (Belle Center, Ohio/Indian Lake) held the Eagles to just one run through the first six innings in his first start and had a 4-1 lead, thanks in large part to a three-run sixth inning by the Storm.
Trailing 1-0, freshman Aaron Lindgren (Willoughby, Ohio/South) delivered a pinch-hit triple to right field to bring in two runs and give the Storm the lead. He then scored on a squeeze bunt by Rizzo to make it a 3-1 game. Kemp brought Kilway in an inning later and Lake Erie had a 4-1 lead.
Hogue, who had scattered seven hits and walked just one through the first six innings, gave up back-to-back singles to start the seventh. Senior Mike Morgan (Russells Point, Ohio/Indian Lake) relieved him and got Robert Collin to fly out.
However he ran into trouble after that, walking Jordan Kirk to load the bases and then uncorking a wild pitch that brought in a run. Foster followed with a two-run single, his fourth hit of the game, to tie it at 4-4 and then Nick Barnes singled to right to score Foster, who had taken second on the throw home the previous play, to cap the comeback.
Hogue was charged with three runs in six innings with four strikeouts but did not earn a decision. Morgan (0-1) was charged with the loss after allowing two runs on two hits in 1/3 of an inning.
Kemp had a big game two at the plate, going 3-for-4 and an RBI to finish with four hits on the day. Cacique did not get a hit in three at-bats, ending his hit streak. Two other players had two hits for the Eagles.
Corey Lakatos earned the win with 2/3 of an inning in relief. Charleston starter Patrick Chiaramonte allowed three runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six.
This was the third straight doubleheader split for the Storm.
Tuesday's games marked the final nonconference games before the start of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play. The Storm opens GLIAC action this weekend with a four-game set against defending league champion and 18th-ranked Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. beginning Saturday, March 24, at 1 p.m.