ALLENDALE, Mich. –Behind 25 total runs and 30 hits, Ohio Dominican's baseball team came away with a Sunday split at Grand Valley, taking game one 16-8 before falling 13-9 in the nightcap.
In the opener, every Panther starter collected at least one hit, and five players had multi-hit efforts as ODU collected a season-best in runs and hits (19).
Junior Lee Sponseller (Mason, Ohio) paced the team with a 4-for-4 effort at the plate, hitting a home run and a double, driving in three runs and scoring three times. He also drew a walk.
Senior Kyle Burson (Brunswick, Ohio), junior Justin Childers (Pickerington, Ohio) and sophomore Noah Bland (Oberlin, Ohio) all had three hits. Childers drove in three and also drew a walk, Burson hit a pair of doubles and scored three times, and Bland had two RBIs and two runs scored.
ODU (15-12, 6-6 GLIAC) jumped out to a 5-0 lead through the first inning and a half. Childers tripled to right-center to score Sponseller and senior Tony Evans (Medway, Ohio), and an RBI grounder from sophomore Colin Kaucher (Toledo, Ohio) staked the Panthers to a 3-0 lead in the first. Sponseller's two-run dinger to center extended the lead to 5-0 in the second.
The Lakers (17-13, 6-6 GLIAC) drew within 5-2 in the bottom half, but the Panther bats stayed hot in the third. Burson's RBI double brought in Kaucher, and Bland followed with a two-out, two-run single to put ODU in front 8-2.
GVSU answered with four runs of its own in the bottom of the third, but again the Panthers countered with a three run inning. With two outs, Burson hit an RBI double down the left field line, and junior Cody Paterniti (Chardon, Ohio) followed with an inside the park home run – the first home run of any type in his career – to put the Panthers on top 11-6.
An RBI single from Childers made it 12-6 in the fifth, and ODU tacked on three more runs in the sixth. Burson scored on a wild pitch, sophomore Brad Hull (Gahanna, Ohio) had an RBI grounder, and Sponseller added an RBI single to extend the advantage to 15-6.
Paterniti's RBI basehit in the seventh capped the scoring for the Panthers, who scored at least one run in every inning in the opener.
In game two, the Panthers built a 7-5 lead in the fifth, but the Lakers outscored ODU 8-2 over the remainder of the contest.
Evans hit a solo shot in the first inning and a sacrifice fly in the third to help ODU take a 3-2 lead early. The Lakers scored three times in the bottom of the third to go in front 5-3, but the Panthers used a three-run inning in the fifth to go back on top. Sophomore Genesis Hillard (Cincinnati, Ohio) had an RBI double, Burson an RBI single, and junior Max Banke (Oakwood, Ohio) a sacrifice fly to make it 7-5.
The Lakers came back with four runs in the bottom of the fifth, but Sponseller's solo shot in the sixth kept the Panthers close at 9-8. GVSU scored three runs over the next two innings, though, and ODU could counter with just one tally in the eighth on a sac fly from Evans.
The Panthers racked up 11 more hits in game two, with four players notching two apiece in Sponseller, Hillard, Burson and Paterniti. Evans knocked in three and Sponseller had a pair of RBIs as well.
ODU remains on the road for a doubleheader at Walsh beginning at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Contact: Scott Miles