EASTLAKE, Ohio- The Lake Erie Storm baseball team split with the no. 25 team in the nation, the California University of Pennsylvania Vulcans, this afternoon. The series consisted of two seven-inning games, of which the second went into extra innings.
The first game was a hitting parade for the Storm. Literally. Every player in the Storm lineup, save pitchers, reached first base with at least one hit.
In the bottom of the second, Sam Browning hit an RBI double, starting things off for the Storm. But, the Vulcans took a 3-1 lead in the top of the third inning due to a pair of wild pitches and a throwing error committed by the Storm infield.
They weren't done yet, though. In the fourth inning, Nathan Birtley hit a double to right field, followed by a single by Travis Peterson. With runners on first and third, Anthony Jackson hit an RBI single. Nathan Erzen hit another RBI single, scoring Peterson, scoring the second run of the inning. Forrest Longeway reached first on an error committed by the Vulcan defense. With the bases juiced, Sam Browning was hit by a pitch and brought Jackson in to score. The three runs scored that inning extended the Storm lead to four.
The Vulcans got one of their runs back when they scored on a passed ball, but the Storm added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth due to a solo home run by Caleb Waller, and a passed ball was thrown by Cal. (Pa) to bring Birtley home, which gave the Storm a win with a final score of 9-4.
The Storm offense had 16 hits (while not reaching first on walks at all). Three players went 3-4 at the plate (Birtley, Erzen, Peterson), while three other players had at least two RBIs (Sam Browning, Jackson, Paxton).
Freshman Cade Wendel started on the bump in the first start of his collegiate career. He allowed four runs on three hits, four walks, and earned eight strikeouts in five innings work in his outing resulting in his first win in a Storm uniform. Additionally, over half of the freshman's pitches were thrown for strikes.
Game two ended in a 5-3 loss for the Storm in extra innings.
The Vulcans took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, but by the bottom of the fourth, the Storm had regained the lead. Trace Peterson and Anthony Jackson hit RBI singles, and Blake Curry smacked an RBI triple down the right field line to score Brandon Boazman from first, making the score 3-2.
The Vulcans tied the game in the top of the seventh, sending the game into extras. Nico Marchetti hit an RBI triple for the Vulcans to match, and a sacrifice fly to center field scored him to go ahead by one, giving them the win as the Storm couldn't take the lead back in the bottom of the ninth.
Storm senior Ryan Lally started the second game for the Storm and had a solid outing, allowing two runs on four hits, three walks, and earning six strikeouts in six innings. Tristan Mayer is credited with the loss, his second of the year.
Storm baseball returns to Classic Park for a conference showdown with Malone University. They will play a doubleheader on Saturday, March 30, with first pitches, starting at 1 pm and 4 pm respectively.