COLUMBUS, Ohio – A dramatic rally late in game two Saturday helped Ohio Dominican's baseball team complete a four-game weekend sweep of visiting Saginaw Valley.
After winning Saturday afternoon's opener 3-0, the Panthers found themselves trailing 6-2 in game two before plating six runs in the seventh and eighth innings to take an 8-6 victory.
The victories improved ODU's record to 13-8 (4-2 GLIAC), while the Cardinals fell to 6-14 (9-4 GLIAC).
Sophomore Noah Bland (Oberlin, Ohio) started ODU's rally in the seventh with a sharp single up the middle. A bunt single by senior Kyle Burson (Brunswick, Ohio), coupled with a Cardinal throwing error, put runners on second and third. With two outs and a 1-2 count on him, sophomore Colin Kaucher (Toledo, Ohio) delivered with a two-run single, and sophomore Genesis Hillard (Cincinnati, Ohio) followed with a line drive base hit to score Kaucher and make it 6-5.
In the eighth inning, ODU put two runners on with one out, and senior Tony Evans (Medway, Ohio) drilled a double to right field to score Cody Paterniti (Chardon, Ohio) and tie the game. With Bland at third, the Panthers tried a squeeze play, but missed the bunt as the pitch was in the dirt, and Bland continued his break for home and scored in front of the tag to put the Panthers on top 7-6.
Burson followed with an RBI single to bring home Evans and give ODU the 8-6 lead, and Derek Thobe (Coldwater, Ohio) needed just eight pitches to work a one-two-three ninth inning and seal the win.
Thobe tossed 3.0 scoreless innings of relief, yielding just two hits and striking out two. He picked up his first win of the season.
Burson finished 2-for-4, Hillard finished with a hit and two walks, and the Panthers won despite being outhit 12-9 in the contest.
The Panthers won a low-scoring affair in the opener, notching the team's second shutout of the season, as Burson tossed his first career complete game in just his third start.
The right-hander threw 60 of his 91 pitches for strikes, allowed six hits, and walked just one in improving to 3-0 on the season. He has walked just two hitters in 23.2 innings and has allowed just one run in his last 16.2 innings.
Burson worked out of a jam in the top of the fourth as the first two Cardinals reached. He picked a runner off second, but a double put two Cardinals in scoring position with one out. The Panthers brought the infield in and sophomore Brad Hull (Gahanna, Ohio) snagged a grounder for the second out before a shallow pop to left ended the threat.
Kaucher started the home half of the inning with a line drive double to right center, and with two outs and a 1-2 count, junior Max Banke (Oakwood, Ohio) fought a single through the left side of the infield to bring Kaucher home and give ODU a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, junior Justin Childers (Pickerington, Ohio) launched a liner that cleared the wall in left field with a runner on to extend the lead to 3-0. Burson worked a perfect sixth inning before running into some trouble in the seventh with a hit batsman and a walk to start the frame, but a fly out and a double play ended the contest.
Childers went 2-for-3 in the contest to lead the offense, while junior Lee Sponseller (Mason, Ohio) drew a trio of walks. Sponseller has drawn 20 walks this season, which leads the GLIAC.
Evans, who had a hit in each game of the doubleheader, extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games, and he has also reached base in 21 consecutive contests.
Ohio Dominican returns to action with a doubleheader against Wayne State at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5 in Panther Valley.
Contact: Scott Miles