PAINESVILLE, OHIO – Bolstered by a pair of big innings – one in each game – the Lake Erie College baseball team took the first two games of their weekend set from Hillsdale College, sweeping the Chargers in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) doubleheader Saturday (March 31), winning 11-6 and 8-6.
In the opener, Hillsdale (3-17, 1-7 GLIAC) pushed one across in the top of the first before the Storm (9-10, 5-1 GLIAC) exploded for eight runs in the second inning. After three RBI singles, senior Brayan Cacique (Caracas, Venezuela/John I. Leonard/Lakeland C.C.) delivered a two-run double to make it 5-1. Classmate Matt Toth (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King), who singled in a run earlier, scored on a wild pitch and Nick Lovick (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) and Aaron Lindgren (Willoughby, Ohio/South) followed with run-scoring hits to make the score 8-1.
The Chargers dropped in a couple of bloops hits in the fourth before Sean Bennett drove in two with a single to right. Later Vinny Delicata brought home a pair to make it 8-5.
Lake Erie extended the lead with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) drove in the run in the fourth, Lovick hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth and Lindgren scored on an error in the sixth inning.
Junior Pat Kilway (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge), Lindgren and Leeworthy each had two hits. Leeworthy, Cacique and Lovick drove in two runs apiece and three players scored twice. Scott Lantis was the only Hillsdale player with two hits in game one.
Adam Beach (Vermilion, Ohio/Vermilion) earned the win on the mount to improve to 3-2. He battled through six innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out seven. Doug Fox (Parma, Ohio/Valley Forge) closed it out with a scoreless inning.
Shane Armstrong (0-3) allowed eight runs on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings to take the loss.
The Chargers again jumped out front early in game two, getting an unearned run in the first and then two more on two hits and a couple of ground balls in the second to take a 3-0 lead.
Lindgren put the Storm on the board with his second home run of the season, a two-run shot deep to right field in the bottom of the second.
Mike Blanchard and Lantis had back-to-back RBI singles in the fourth that made it 5-2. Senior Kyle Kemp (Fredericksburg, Va./James Monroe) singled in a run for the Storm in the bottom half to make it 5-3.
It was 6-3 heading to the bottom of the sixth after a Lantis sacrifice fly in the top half, when the Storm mounted its comeback. Lake Erie loaded the bases to chase starter Dan Rhodes and Lindgren delivered again, this time with a two-run single off reliever Kris Morris to make it a one-run game. Kemp followed with a double down the line to score the tying run and advance Lindgren to third. Junior Cody Blood (Conneaut, Ohio/Conneaut) dropped down a perfectly placed squeeze bunt to score Lindgren with the go-ahead run and Leeworthy followed with an infield single to score Kemp and make it 8-6.
The Storm scored five runs on six hits and sent 11 men to the plate in the sixth inning.
Fox came on for the second time on the day in the seventh, pitching a 1-2-3 seventh to earn his second save of the season, striking out Matt Pochman to end it.
Freshman Heath Kelley (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) picked up the win in relief, allowing a run on two hits in one inning of work. Junior Logan Nordquist (Alliance, Ohio/Alliance) allowed just two earned runs in his four innings of work and senior Glenn Stewart (Strattanville, Pa./Clarion Limestone) tossed a scoreless inning of relief.
Lindgren went 3-for-3 in the nightcap with a career-high four RBI, while Kemp and Kilway each had two hits with Kemp driving in a pair.
Morris (0-4) allowed two runs on four hits in his inning of work. Rhodes was charged with six runs on eight hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out four.
Blanchard and Mike Vanchieri each had two hits in game two for the Chargers.
The two teams will wrap up their four-game series on Sunday, April 1, at Braggs Field. First pitch will be at 11:30 a.m.