Page Claims 900th Career Win as Panthers Take Opener From Wayne State
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Head baseball coach Paul Page earned his 900th career win at the helm of the Ohio Dominican program as the Panthers took the first game of their GLIAC doubleheader against Wayne State 7-4. The Warriors would bounce back to take a 7-4 win themselves in game two.
Now in his 25th season directing the Panthers, Page has a career mark of 900-443-6. A remarkable 864 of those wins came at the NAIA level, which ranked in the top 13 all-time before ODU transitioned to NCAA Division II. Page had also compiled a winning percentage of .683 in the NAIA, which ranked him fifth overall among active coaches at that level.
With the split, ODU moved to 17-15 overall and 9-9 in the GLIAC, while Wayne State is now 20-11 (11-7 GLIAC). The Warriors had taken all four games of the season series from the Panthers last year. The first two games of this series were rained out yesterday.
The Panthers managed to rally from a pair of two-run deficits in the opener for Page's milestone victory. Down 2-0 in the third, the offense clicked into gear as back-to-back singles by junior Ryan Rovnak (Poland, Ohio) and redshirt sophomore Christian Prince (Hudsonville, Mich.) put two aboard. Sophomore Anthony Raschilla (Girard, Ohio) followed with a basehit back up the middle to score Rovnak. Freshman Kyle Tisdale (Uniontown, Ohio) walked and senior John Bowron (Dayton, Ohio) reached on a fielder's choice to score Prince and knot the game.
After the Warriors plated single runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to go in front 4-2, ODU answered again. Raschilla lined a single to center to start the inning, but the next two hitters. Freshman Austin Butler (Pickerington, Ohio) delivered, though, drilling a 2-1 fastball to the trees in left field for his first career home run, tying the game at four.
Junior Nick Venditti (Brecksville, Ohio) then entered with one on and none out in the sixth and retired the next three hitters to keep the game at 4-4 and momentum with the Panthers. The offense came through in the bottom half of the inning, as freshman John Simindinger (Lima, Ohio) singled and went to second on a sacrifice by senior Evan Shaw (Delaware, Ohio). Rovnak's line drive single put runners on the corner, and Prince singled into right field to score Simindinger and give ODU its first lead of the day.
The Panthers weren't done, though, as Prince and Rovnak both moved into scoring position on the play by a fielding error in right. Freshman Jake Simmerman (Westerville, Ohio) then stepped to the plate and snuck a single in the hole between first and second, scoring both runners and putting the Panthers in front 7-4.
Venditti worked a perfect seventh inning to take the victory and improve to 4-2 on the season. He needed just 24 pitches to retire all six hitters he faced, working two innings in relief of freshman Austin Bueter (Wauseon, Ohio). Bueter went five-plus on the hill, allowing seven hits and two earned runs (four total) in an 89-pitch outing.
The 2-3-4 hitters in the lineup did most of the damage for ODU as Rovnak, Prince and Raschilla went a combined 7-for-11 with four runs and two RBI. Prince had three hits and Rovnak and Raschilla both notched two hits.
ODU outhit the Warriors 12-7 in the opener and also drew three walks.
In game two, the Panthers could not rally all the way back from another early deficit, despite having multiple chances. ODU hit into three double plays in the nightcap, while allowing five stolen bases, hitting three batters and throwing three wild pitches.
Wayne State scored twice in the first, but ODU came back with a run of its own as Shaw walked and came in to score as Prince slashed a single to right to make it 2-1. A double play would end the inning, though.
The Warriors put up single runs in the second and fourth frames to go in front 4-1 before the Panthers scored a run of their own in the fourth. The first three hitters reached as Rovnak singled in the hole at short, Prince walked and Raschilla singled to center. Tisdale's sacrifice fly scored Rovnak, but ODU's third double play would end the rally and keep the score at 4-2.
Wayne State earned some breathing room with two runs in the fifth, and after ODU could not score after putting its first two runners on in the sixth, the Warriors tacked on another run in the top of the seventh.
The Panthers made it interesting in the seventh as Bowron ripped a single through the left side and Butler cranked his second two-run homer of the day to cut the score to 7-4. With two down, Shaw singled through the left side, but the comeback stopped there as a fielder's choice grounder ended the contest.
Wayne State finished with the 11-8 edge in hitting in game two, touching up ODU starter Cole Carpenter (Zanesville, Ohio) for six runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. Carpenter fell to 1-2 with the loss.
Rovnak and Bowron both had two hits to lead the Panthers in game two. Prince and Rovnak both finished the doubleheader with four hits, with Rovnak crossing home three times, while Raschilla and Bowron both had three hits apiece.
The Panthers continue GLIAC play with a 1 p.m. doubleheader Wednesday against Findlay at Panther Valley.
Contact: Scott Miles