HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY. – Behind a pair of strong pitching performances, the Lake Erie College baseball team split a doubleheader at perennial power Northern Kentucky University on Saturday (March 10), picking up their first win of the season in the process. After dropping game one 3-1, the Storm rebounded for a 2-1 victory in the nightcap.
Both games featured dominant pitching, with Lake Erie (1-4) getting strong starts from junior Adam Beach (Vermillion, Ohio/Vermillion) and sophomore Brian Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge), as well as some clutch hitting from sophomore infielder Reid Rizzo (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) and ace work from all-conference reliever Doug Fox (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge).
Beach and Kilway combined to throw 12 1/3 innings and allowed just four runs combined on 11 hits. The duo walked just three and struck out 14. Each was backed up by Fox who tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings in the two games and struck out four.
The opener was scoreless until the fifth when Rizzo singled in the game's first run. It remained a 1-0 game into the sixth until the Norse (6-7) got a two-out, two-run single from Pat Williams to take the lead.
Northern Kentucky added another run in the eighth with a solo home run from Max Colaner that ended Beach's day. He went seven-plus and allowed three runs on six hits. Beach (0-2) walked two and struck out a season-high eight.
Lefty Tim Clark (1-2) held the Storm to just four hits in six innings of work to earn the win. Brett Loeding came on to throw three innings of one-hit relief, with four strikeouts, to earn his second save. Brad Clement went 3-for-4 at the plate and Williams had two hits to lead the NKU offense in game one.
Game two played out much the same, with neither team scoring until the fifth inning as Kilway and Jim Ryan held the two offenses in check.
Lake Erie finally broke through and it was Rizzo again in the center of the action. Sophomore outfielder Garrett Emling (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) opened the inning with a single and came around to score on Rizzo's two-out single. Rizzo then manufactured a run by stealing second and advancing to third on a wild pitch. From there senior Brayan Cacique (Caracas, Venezuela/John I. Leonard/Lakeland) brought him in with a base hit for a 2-0 lead.
Northern Kentucky got on the board in the sixth with Brett Cisper doubling in a run with one out in the inning to chase Kilway. But Fox came on and got Clement to line out to Cacique who tossed to Rizzo on the bag at second base to double off Cisper and end the threat.
Kilway surrendered that one run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. He walked one and struck out six to pick up his first win of the year (1-1). Fox earned his first save with 1 2/3 of one-hit work.
Ryan (0-2) allowed two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings and Loeding, like Fox, came on in relief for the second time on the day and kept the Storm off the scoreboard in 2 1/3 innings.
The Storm continues its Spring Break trip on Tuesday, March 13, when it opens a series at seventh-ranked Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss.