FRANKFORT, Ky. - The Lake Erie College baseball team opened the 2017 season with a doubleheader sweep of Kentucky State on Saturday (Feb. 18).
The Storm won game one 6-4 in eight innings and won the nightcap 10-2.
"I'm happy with how we played today, offense got going early and often and our bullpen held up well. Both starters kept us in it an gave the bats a chance to take a lead which is all we can ask for from them. I liked our aggressiveness, lived by the fastball, took extra bases and played hard," said Storm head coach Cameron Castro.
Lake Erie jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with a homerun in the top of the first. Catcher Nigel Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio / La Salle) hit his first homerun of the year with two outs in the inning.
Kentucky State tied the game with an RBI single in the bottom of the third. Lake Erie regained the lead in the fourth inning with some small ball. Shortstop Caleb Waller (Vermillion, Ohio / Vermillion) reached on an one out single, stole second base and scored on a RBI single by second baseman Austin Bovenzi (Fairport, N.Y. / McQuaid Jesuit).
Right-hander David Lemasters (Cortland, Ohio / Lakeview) limited the Thorobreds to one run on three hits in five innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out four.
Lake Erie added two runs in the top of the sixth inning. Third baseman Ryan Carver (Orange Park, Fla. / Oakleaf) opened the frame with a double and moved to third on a balk. Left fielder Alex Lind (Cincinnati, Ohio / Cincinnati Elder) doubled home Carver. Two batters later, right fielder Jacob Armstrong (Clarkston, Mich. / Clarkston) singled home Lind to make it 6-3 Storm.
Kentucky State tied the game at six with three runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning.
The game entered extra innings where the Storm scored two in the top of the eighth. The Storm loaded the bases with a walk, hit by pitch and a fielding error. Armstrong was hit by a pitch, scoring a run. Designated hitter Sam Browning (Cincinnati, Ohio / Archbishop McNicholas) walked with the bases loaded, scoring a run as the Storm led 8-6.
Lake Erie escaped a jam in the bottom of the eighth to secure the 8-6 win in game one.
Williams went four-for-five with a homerun and RBI in the first game. Every starter accounted for a hit as the Storm had 12 hits total.
Brian Bullock (Loveland, Ohio / Loveland) earned the win as he allowed three runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts in three innings.
In game two, Lake Erie put three runs on the board in three different innings en route to a 10-2 win.
Lake Erie began the second game with three runs for an early lead. Armstrong and Browning opened the game with back-to-back singles. Both runners advanced on a balk. Centerfielder Rees Rua (Amherst, Ohio / Amherst Steele) plated Armstrong with a fielder's choice. First baseman Wes Birchmeier (Miamisburg, Ohio / Miamisburg) followed with a two-run homerun to center field.
The Storm made the lead 4-0 in the third inning. Birchmeier walked, moved to second on a fielding error, and went to third on a single. Birchmeier scored on a wild pitch.
Birchmeier started the fifth inning with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Catcher Nathan Erzen (Brookpark, Ohio / Berea-Midpark) singled home Birchmeier. Carver singled Erzen to third base before a passed ball scored Erzen. Left fielder Nico DiIanni (Boardman, Ohio / Boardman) singled home Carver for a 7-0 Storm led.
Two Kentucky State errors put Browning on second base at the start of the seventh. Rua doubled to plate Browning and then Rua went to third on a wild pitch. Birchmeier doubled home Rua and Birchmeier came around to score on an error.
Mitch Sorensen (Avon Lake, Ohio / Avon Lake) shut out the Thorobreds on three hits and two walks in four innings.
Kentucky State got runs in the sixth and seventh innings on RBI doubles but the Storm finished with a 10-2 victory.
Peter Theodos (St. Albans, W. Va. / St. Albans) allowed two runs in three innings of relief work as he picked up the win.
Birchmeier went three-of-four with three RBI at the plate. Carver and Browning each had two hits while Rua plated two runs.
Castro added, "If we bring that same mindset tomorrow I'll live with whatever the result is Opening Day is always fun, and it's definitely great to be back here with this program. I'm just looking forward to watching these guys compete week in and week out. That's what I'm most excited for."
The Storm will resume the four game series with a doubleheader on Sunday (Feb. 19) with games at 12:00 PM Eastern and 3:00 PM Eastern.