COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's baseball team solidified its spot in fourth place in the GLIAC standings with a doubleheader sweep of visiting Northwood on Saturday, defeating the Timberwolves 5-4 and 8-3 in Panther Valley.
Winners of five straight games, ODU improved to 20-23 on the season (15-13 GLIAC), while Northwood fell to 15-20 (10-14).
The Panthers racked up 23 hits in the two games, led by sophomore Kyle Tisdale (Uniontown, Ohio), who went 4-for-8 with three RBI, and junior Anthony Raschilla (Girard, Ohio), who was also 4-for-8. Junior Bryan Rudolph (Pickerington, Ohio) had three hits, including two doubles, and walked twice as well to help lead the offense.
Junior Sean Blackburn (Wadsworth, Ohio) and senior Nick Venditti (Brecksville, Ohio) danced in and out of trouble on the mound all afternoon but did enough to earn wins in their respective starts. Blackburn worked the opener, allowing 10 hits and three runs in six-plus innings, while Venditti yielded 11 hits but just three runs in 4.2 innings in the nightcap.
The Panthers are three losses behind Ashland in the GLIAC standings, as the Eagles sport a 16-10 conference record.
It was Northwood who jumped out early in the first game though, starting things with a leadoff home run and tacking on another run in the first to grab a 2-0 lead.
ODU had a quick response in the bottom half, as senior Ryan Rovnak (Poland, Ohio) hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored sophomore Marcus Schluessler (Zanesville, Ohio). After singles by Tisdale and Raschilla, freshman Collin Parcher (Napoleon, Ohio) squeezed a basehit through the left side of the infield to score Tisdale and knot the game at 2-2.
The Panthers kept their momentum going in the second, set up by a leadoff walk to freshman Jacob Horsley (Thornville, Ohio). Schluessler roped a single to left, and Rovnak followed with an RBI basehit back up the middle to make it 3-2. Tisdale then drove a ball into left-center, bringing home both Rovnak and Schluessler and staking the Panthers to a 5-2 advantage.
The score remained that way through six innings, as Blackburn – who allowed five hits in the opening stanza – settled down. He stranded runners on second and third in the fourth, was the beneficiary of a great throw by Tisdale to gun down a would-be basestealer in the fifth, then picked off a runner in the sixth to help quell another Northwood threat.
After allowing a leadoff double to start the seventh, Blackburn exited and was replaced by freshman Ryan Colegate (Centerville, Ohio). An RBI single would score one run, but Colegate struck out the next two batters to keep it at 5-3.
A Panther error extended the game and brought Northwood to within a run, but Colegate slammed the door with his third strikeout of the inning to earn his second save of the season.
Both teams finished with 11 hits in the opener, with Tisdale tallying three and Schluessler two. Tisdale and Rovnak both finished with three RBI and Schluessler scored twice.
Northwood got the scoring rolling in the first inning of game two as well, but once again the Panthers had a response.
Trailing 1-0 and with two down in the first, Raschilla singled to put two runners on, and Parcher followed with a basehit to score Rovnak. Junior Jossue Delgado (Barinas, Venezuela) followed with an RBI single and Rudolph had the big hit of the inning, going to right-center with a line drive that brought home two and gave the Panthers a 4-1 edge.
Northwood answered with a run in the top of the third, but ODU had another response ready. The Panthers loaded the bases with one out, as a Northwood error helped usher home two runs and give the Panthers a 6-2 lead. A passed ball would help sophomore Phil Jaskot (Upper Arlington, Ohio) score later in the inning and make it 7-2.
Venditti kept Northwood at bay for most of the afternoon. He left the bases loaded with no damage in both the second and fourth innings and kept runners on board in the first and third innings as well. He finally exited after allowing a third run in the fifth inning, but sophomore Alberto Canales (West Park, Fla.) relieved and ended the inning with a strikeout to keep the Panther lead at 7-3.
Canales escaped damage in the sixth with an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded, and ODU tacked on an insurance run in the sixth after Tisdale snuck a single through a drawn in Northwood infield to make it 8-3.
The Timberwolves would out-hit ODU 14-12 in game two, but left 13 runners on base in the setback.
Delgado went 3-for-3 to lead the offense and Rudolph had two hits and two RBI as well for the Panthers.
Ohio Dominican and Northwood conclude their three-game series with a single nine-inning game at noon Sunday.
Contact: Scott Miles