Panthers Claw Back to Sweep Doubleheader in Home Opener

John Bowron
John Bowron

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Trailing 8-4 in the second half of its doubleheader against GLIAC foe Findlay, Ohio Dominican's baseball team scored five unanswered runs to claim the sweep over the visiting Oilers in ODU's home opener Thursday at Panther Valley. The Panthers took game one by a 3-1 count.

With the victories, ODU moved to 7-9 on the season (4-2 GLIAC), while the Oilers dropped to 2-13-1 (0-6).

In the second contest, Ohio Dominican jumped to a 4-2 lead in the first. Senior Felix Brown (Philipsburg, St. Maarten) smashed a single back up the middle that chased home classmate Germaine McAlpine (Canton, Ohio) from second, and with two outs, sophomore Zack Dascenzo (Uniontown, Pa.) lined a single to center that scored senior JT Feldkamp (Lorain, Ohio). The big blow then came off the bat of junior John Bowron (Dayton, Ohio), who laced a double into right center to bring home Dascenzo and junior Bobby Franks (Portage, Mich.). Though Bowron was cut down at third on the play, the hit helped wipe out the two-run advantage UF had built in the top half of the inning.

The Oilers, though, took advantage of four Panther walks and an error to score five times in the top of the second, and tacked on another run in the top of the fourth to make it an 8-4. The Panthers loaded the bases in the bottom half of the frame and made it 8-5 with a bases loaded walk by McAlpine, bringing in Dascenzo, but an inning-ending double play prevented further damage.

Senior Kyle Gore (Solon, Ohio) was then called on in the top of the fifth with two on and two down and induced a pop-up to end the inning, and ODU chipped away at the Oiler lead with another run in its half of the inning, with Franks' RBI grounder scoring Brown to cut the deficit to 8-6.

Gore set the Oilers down in order in the sixth, and the Panther offense came alive. Bowron singled and went to second after junior Tyler Zaidel (Cincinnati, Ohio) was hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt by junior Evan Shaw (Delaware, Ohio) advanced them into scoring position, and McAlpine drilled an opposite-field double into the left field corner, bringing in both runners and knotting the game at eight. McAlpine then swiped third, easily beating the throw, and sophomore Nick DiNello (Boardman, Ohio) hit a fly ball to center that was deep enough to score the speedster, as no play was attempted at the plate.

That gave the Panthers their first lead since the first inning, and Gore was able to shut down the Oilers again in the seventh. Findlay had a runner reach on a dribbler down the third base line with two outs, but the southpaw closed it with an easy popout to McAlpine in left for the victory.

Gore earned his first victory of the season, moving to 1-0, and threw 20 of his 26 pitches for strikes in 2.1 innings of work, allowing just the one baserunner. Sophomore Drew McGlone (Circleville, Ohio) was also effective in relief, throwing 3.1 innings and allowing just one earned run.

Four Panthers had multi-hit efforts in the game, led by McAlpine (2-for-3, 2 R, 3 RBI), Bowron (2-for-3, R, 2 RBI), Dascenzo (2-for-3, 2 R, RBI) and Brown (2-for-3, R, RBI).

ODU finished with 12 hits in the game, the most since the team tallied 16 in the 11-3 victory over No. 1 Georgia College on March 8.

The first contest, which wrapped up in just an hour and 31 minutes, featured a pitcher's duel between sophomore Alex Borgan (Pickerington, Ohio) and Findlay's Ethan James. Borgan would go the distance, twirling a four-hitter while fanning four and allowing just four hits and one walk. He needed just 82 pitches, tossing 52 of them for strikes, for his second straight complete game.

The lone run Borgan yielded came in the first, as UF strung together three hits, but he escaped further damage by stranding two runners on base.

ODU, which left the bases loaded in the first, came through with a pair of runs in the second to give the righthander all the support he needed. Zaidel walked and Shaw singled to put on board, and McAlpine smacked the first pitch he saw for a double down the left field line to score Zaidel. DiNello followed with a sac fly to score Shaw and put the Panthers in front 2-1.

Borgan, who set down 10 of 11 hitters from the end of the first through the fourth, ran into problems early in the fifth, putting two runners on board with no out. But he induced a 6-4-3 double play and closed the inning with a ground out to Zaidel to keep ODU on top by a run.

After Borgan set the Oilers down in order again in the sixth, the Panthers provided an extra insurance run, as Dascenzo doubled with two down and the bases empty and came in to score without a throw on Bowron's base hit into left, making it 3-1.

The Oilers put the leadoff man on board in the top of the seventh, but hit into a double play as Bowron caught a short fly ball in right and easily picked off the runner before he could get back to the bag. A groundout to Brown at second base ended the contest.

Ohio Dominican will return to action this weekend at Panther Valley as ODU welcomes in Northwood for a pair of GLIAC doubleheaders. First pitch Saturday is slated for 1 p.m., with a noon start time scheduled for Sunday.

Contact: Scott Miles