Baseball Closes Season with Extra Inning Magic Against No. 10 Grand Valley
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Redshirt junior Zack Dascenzo (Uniontown, Pa.) capped his Ohio Dominican baseball career with a walkoff single in the ninth inning of game two to help the Panthers to a 5-4 win over No. 10 Grand Valley State in GLIAC action on Sunday.
Unfortunately, a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in the opener, coupled with a Tiffin victory against Saginaw Valley, eliminated the Panthers from earning a berth in this week's GLIAC tournament.
Despite a roster that featured more than 25 newcomers, ODU closed the 2012 season with a 24-24 overall record, 16-18 in the GLIAC, good for seventh place. Grand Valley, the GLIAC regular season champion and top ranked team in the region, is 37-13 (27-9).
Dascenzo's game-winner capped a perfect day at the plate for the fourth-year player, as he went 4-for-4 with three RBI and three walks in the twinbill. He finished the season with a .333 batting average and .488 on-base percentage.
The Panthers roared back from a 3-0 hole in the third inning by sending nine players to the plate in the home half. Senior Evan Shaw (Delaware, Ohio) reached second on an error and came in to score as junior Chase Westphal (Brecksville, Ohio) singled him home.
Sophomore Bryan Rudolph (Pickerington, Ohio) then crushed a pitch to the wall in center field that he legged out for a triple, scoring Westphal and making it 3-2. Freshman Jake Simmerman (Westerville, Ohio) followed with an opposite field basehit to tie the game, and he would later come in to score on a wild pitch to give the Panthers a 4-3 lead.
Sophomore Sean Blackburn (Wadsworth, Ohio) worked a perfect fourth, but yielded an unearned run in the fifth as a throwing error allowed the Lakers to tie the game at four.
Both teams had chances to take the lead in the seventh, but the Blackburn got out of a two-on, one-out situation with a punchout and harmless flyout to Shaw in center. The Panthers put their first two runners on board to start the seventh, but a strikeout and double play ended the threat.
After both teams stranded a runner in the eighth, GVSU loaded the bases in the ninth on an error, a hit batter and a walk, but freshman Alberto Canales (West Park, Fla.) came in to get the final out, inducing a groundout to Westphal at second.
Rudolph started the ninth with a five-pitch walk and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by classmate Anthony Raschilla (Girard, Ohio). Dascenzo, who had drawn a walk in each of his previous three plate appearances, worked the count full and sent a basehit to left-center, chasing home Rudolph, who beat the throw to the plate.
Rudolph finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs and freshman Austin Butler (Pickerington, Ohio) went 2-for-3.
Blackburn did not earn a decision, tossing the first seven innings of the game and allowing three earned runs on five hits. He struck out a season-high five in his second straight game of working seven innings, throwing 103 pitches in this outing.
The Panthers came up just shy of sweeping the doubleheader with a 4-3 setback in the opener. After falling behind 2-0 in the second, ODU rallied with a run in the home half. Senior John Bowron (Dayton, Ohio) was hit by a pitch, and Dascenzo smacked a double just fair inside the third base line. Bowron, who was off with the pitch, came in to score to make it 2-1.
In the fourth, a pair of walks and a Dascenzo single loaded the bases, and junior Ryan Rovnak (Poland, Ohio) hit a fly ball to deep left field that chased home Raschilla and knot the game.
GVSU took advantage of an ODU error in the sixth to score a run without the benefit on a hit in the inning, but again the Panther offense responded to tie it at three. Bowron singled and stole second, and Dascenzo came up with his second RBI double of the game, right over the bag at third, to knot it up.
But the Lakers had one last run in them, this time an RBI single with two down in the top of the seventh, and the Panthers could muster just one infield single in the bottom half to suffer the defeat.
Junior Nick Venditti (Brecksville, Ohio) was the tough-luck loser, throwing his third complete game of the season. He allowed 10 hits and three earned runs, fanning five and walking two. The right-hander threw 70 if his 111 pitches for strikes and finished the regular season among the GLIAC leaders in innings pitched (77.1) and strikeouts (61). Both are career-highs.
Contact: Scott Miles