Storm Clinches Spot in GLIAC Tournament With Senior Day Split Against ODU

Michael Backes (Photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions)
Michael Backes (Photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions)

PAINESVILLE, OHIO – The Lake Erie College baseball team clinched a spot in the postseason with a 4-2 win in the first game of a doubleheader over Ohio Dominican University on Senior Day at Braggs Field Wednesday (April 2).  A late rally by the Storm cam up just short in the second game, as the Panthers held on for a 6-5 win.

The split to close the home portion of the schedule puts the Storm (25-21, 21-11 GLIAC) into next week's 2012 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament in Chillicothe, Ohio. It is the first appearance in the GLIAC playoffs and second postseason appearance all-time for the Lake Erie College baseball program.  Ohio Dominican (23-21, 15-15 GLIAC) remains in contention for one of the final playoff spots.

Lake Erie's only previous playoff experience was the 2008 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC)  when the Storm competed at the NCAA Division III level.

In the opener, senior Michael Backes (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) threw five-plus solid innings and freshman Aaron Lindgren (Willoughby, Ohio/South) homered to lead Lake Erie to the 4-2 win.

 The Storm took a 3-0 lead on a first-inning single by senior Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) and a two-run blast over the right field fence by Lindgren – his fourth of the season- in the fourth.  The Panthers loaded the bases in the sixth to end Backes' day and scored two times, but junior closer Doug Fox (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) got out of the jam and classmate Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) added an insurance run with an RBI double in the bottom of the inning.

Backes (2-3) allowed two runs on eight hits in five innings for the win. He walked one and struck out one. Fox struck out three in his two innings of work to extend his school record with his sixth save.  Toth, Lindgren and Blood each had two hits off ODU starter Nick Venditti (5-4). 

In game two, Ohio Dominican scored two runs in the top of the first on a two-run double by Bryan Rudolph and extended it to 5-0 thanks to a three-run home run by Anthony Raschilla in the third. The Panthers added another run in the sixth on a groundball.

The Storm broke through in the bottom of the sixth when freshman Shaun Gaydos (North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton) delivered a pinch-hit two-run homer to center field.  That chased starter Alberto Canales, who up until that point had allowed just four hits. 

Lake Erie scored three more times in the seventh.  Lindgren delivered a two-run pinch-hit single and Blood followed with an RBI hit of his own to make it a one-run game before Kevin Clark came on to retire Zach Mosbarger (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine) and earn the save.

But Canales (5-1) did enough in the first five innings to earn the win. He finished with two runs allowed on five hits in five-plus innings or work.  He struck out one and did not walk a batter. Kyle Dixon paced the Panther offense with three hits and two runs scored while Raschilla and Rudolph each had two hits.

Blood had three more hits in game two, including his third double of the afternoon.  He was the only Lake Erie batter with more than one hit in the nightcap.  Senior Glenn Stewart (Strattanville, Pa./Clarion Limestone) allowed five runs (all earned) on nine hits in four innings to suffer the loss, falling to 0-2.

The Storm wrap up the regular season this weekend with a four-game series at Wayne State University starting Saturday, May 5.

-LEC-