By Sports Information Intern Ross Thompson
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Winners of 11 straight games and 14 of its last 15, the scorching hot Ohio Dominican baseball team is slated to take on Kentucky Wesleyan in a doubleheader starting at noon Saturday in Panther Valley.
The Panthers, ranked No. 15 in the latest NCBWA poll, are 19-4 (8-0 G-MAC) after sweeping doubleheaders with Davis & Elkins and Alderson Broaddus last Saturday and Sunday to continue conference play.
This is the ninth time since the 2000 season that ODU has seen a win streak reach double figures. The longest win streak in program history is 15 straight games, which was reached in the 1995 season.
After a stellar week at the dish, senior first baseman Justin Childers (Pickerington, Ohio) garnered his second G-MAC player of the week honor. He helped the Panthers go 6-0 for the week, while batting .591 with a .700 OBP. Riding a 10-game hitting streak, Childers hit bombs against all three opponents last week, while also tallying five multi-hit games.
ODU's lineup as a whole remained on fire, scoring 50 runs in the four-game weekend sweep, and now boasts a .350 team average. Catcher Colin Kaucher (Toledo, Ohio) leads the team in batting .425 with 34 hits and 37 RBIs. The junior slugger leads the conference in RBIs and is second in BA, OBP, runs scored and hits through games played on Tuesday.
Junior outfielder Noah Bland (Oberlin, Ohio) is having a stellar season as well, hitting .397, and is top-five in the league with 11 stolen bases. He is followed up by sophomore Joey Machuga (Canfield, Ohio) who is also hitting .397 and is third in the league in doubles (10) and second in RBIs (35).
The Panther hurlers are looking to continue their hot streak as well. Junior Mitchell Bault (Maineville, Ohio) logged a quality start going 6.2 innings against Alderson Broaddus striking out six. Bault has struck out at least six batters in each of his last four starts and leads the conference in innings pitched and strikeouts.
Senior Matt Kittelberger (Massillon, Ohio) went the distance against AB in game two and only allowed three hits and two runs. Kittelberger leads the pitching staff with four wins and two complete games and is tied for first in the conference in wins.
The Panthers have also sparkled defensively, for a second straight week leading the nation in double plays turned per game with 1.35 while ranking 11th in Division II in fielding percentage (.974). ODU has turned 31 double plays in 23 games while hitting into just 14.
ODU's opponent on Saturday, Kentucky Wesleyan, sits in second place in the G-MAC South Division with a 12-13 overall record (2-6 G-MAC). KWC has played plenty of close games this spring and is 4-6 in contests decided by one or two runs.
Contact: Scott Miles