FINDLAY, Ohio – The chances were too few and when they did come about, the Storm offense was unable to come through with any clutch hits, as Lake Erie dropped both ends of a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader at Findlay on Sunday.
Lake Erie managed just six hits in dropping a pair of pitcher's duels to the host Oilers. And LEC didn't do itself any favors by going a combined 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position en route to 2-0 and 3-2 losses.
Findlay's two starting pitchers went a combined 12 innings, allowing just two unearned runs over the twin games at Fifth Third Field. Storm (10-10, 4-3 GLIAC) struck out 13 times -- their most in any doubleheader this season – as the team fell back to .500.
For the Oilers (6-11, 3-4), the victories pull UF out of a stretch that saw them lose five-of-six.
For Lake Erie Head Coach Brian McGee, some parts of Sunday's game were part of a stretch he doesn't want to see continue for another five or six minutes. "We had no energy today," said McGee. "I'm really disappointed in what I saw from the time we got off the bus."
Lake Erie tangled with Findlay senior left-hander Drew Hargrove in Sunday's opener. Hargrove would yield just one single over the first three innings, but he was matched by LEC's Brad Raley, who retired the first nine Oilers in order.
Lake Erie threatened but failed to score in the top of the fourth. Findlay pressured Raley in the bottom of the same inning, but the right-hander didn't yield. LEC was then set don in order in the fifth, part of a stretch that saw Hargrove retire nine batters in a row. The Oilers put together two singles, a sacrifice bunt and then a single to plate two runs in the bottom of the fifth. A clutch hit by leadoff man Jordan Garcia knocked in both UF runs with two outs showing on the scoreboard.
Hargrove would go the distance, collecting four of his five strikeouts for the game over the final two innings of play. Raley absorbed the loss despite striking out seven and walking just one in six innings of work. He allowed just four singles, which was all his side could muster as well. LEC went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
Right-hander Brian Kilway started the nightcap for Lake Erie. Kilway was opposed by junior right-hander Jon Walker.
Walker was vaulted to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when the Oilers sent eight to the plate. Kilway calmed down -- retiring 10 in a row at one point – but the Storm bats were silenced by Walker.
Kilway's third hit batter of the game came around to score on a triple in the bottom of the fourth, and that put the home nine up, 3-0.
In the Lake Erie fifth, the Storm got a leadoff single from second baseman Josh Hudeck and then a single off the bat of Sean Mathews. Both were plated when walker himself committed a throwing error on a Derek Turocy sacrifice bunt.
With the Storm trailing, 3-2, reliever Heath Kelley got Lake Erie out of a jam in the bottom of the fifth. But junior reliever Alex Williams came on to pitch two strong innings, and LEC was set down without so much as another base runner the rest of the way.
Walker and Williams combined to fan eight batters, LEC's most in a single game since March 8. Storm bats went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.
The Green & White were held to just two hits in the second game; LEC's 1-through-4 hitters went a combined 0-for-11.
Lake Erie and Findlay are slated to close out their series with a 2 p.m. game on Monday.
With Sunday's results, Lake Erie is now 6-7 all-time against Findlay. … Freshman left fielder Lucas Raley got a hit in game one but was hitless in the nightcap. So, Sunday's action concluded with Raley ending what was a seven-game hit streak. … Josh Hudeck was LEC's top bat on the day. Hudeck went 2-of-5 with a walk. For the season he is now batting .250 (16-of-64). … With Lake Erie's 3-2 loss in Sunday's nightcap, the Storm are now just 2-5 this season in games decided by one run. … LEC's struggles against a lefty starter seem to be part of a trend – the Storm are hitting just .240 (48-of-200) against lefty pitching this season.
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