Baseball starts MAC play

Rachel Nearhoof /IC

Rachel Nearhoof /IC

Rachel Nearhoof /IC

Kenny Kruse, Staff Reporter

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The University of Toledo baseball team had a busy schedule this past week. UT struggled at the University of Michigan on Tuesday, losing 12-0, and came back home the following day to defeat Oakland University, 8-5. The Rockets hosted MAC West foe Western Michigan University this past weekend at Mercy Field with a 1-0 win on Friday, a 4-1 loss on Saturday, and 9-8 win on Sunday afternoon.

Game @ U of M

            The Rockets collected seven hits and a walk against the Wolverines. UT had the chance to score in the third inning with two singles from third-year outfielder Brad Boss and second-year infielder Riley Campbell. Runners were on first and third with one out, but Michigan created a ground ball double play to stop the Toledo threat.

Michigan quickly scored four runs in the second inning and added another five runs in the fifth before scoring the last three runs scored in the sixth. The Rockets failed to score and the game ended 12-0.

Game vs Oakland

The Grizzlies took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, but Toledo responded in the bottom of the inning with three runs.

The Rockets loaded the bases on third-year infielder Dalton Bollinger’s single, a one-out double along the right field line from first-year infielder Malave Bettinger and second-year outfielder Ross Adolph’s hit-by-pitch. Fourth-year catcher Corey Tipton hit a three-run double to left-center field and scored the base runners, 3-1, with two outs.

Oakland took a 5-3 lead by the sixth inning and kept Toledo from scoring until later in that same inning. The Rockets then tied the game, 5-5. Bollinger singled, stole second and reached third base on a wild pitch. Fourth-year right-handed pitcher Josh Cales pinch hit for Bettinger and hit an RBI double to the left field corner. Tipton scored Cales and collected his second two-RBI game.

UT took the lead in the seventh inning with two runs. Boss reached base from an Oakland error and advanced from Campbell’s sacrifice bunt. Third-year shortstop Matt Hansen drove Boss home with an RBI triple to deep left-center field. Bollinger hit an RBI single to left field to make the score 7-5.

The Rocket team tacked on its final run of the game in the eighth inning. Adolph was walked, stole second base and scored on the RBI single from first-year infielder Antonio Bennett. First-year right-handed pitcher Nate Haugh, now (1-2) was credited with the win and his first career win.

Game 1 vs WMU

Friday’s game seemed to be a pitcher’s duel, as both teams earned only four hits each. UT scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning with a home run from Hansen.

The Rocket team had another opportunity to add to its lead in the sixth, but Hansen and third-year outfielder AJ Montoya were left stranded on the bases.

Fourth-year left-handed pitcher Steven Calhoun, now (2-1), had a total of 105 pitches in eight scoreless innings. Second-year left-handed pitcher Michael Jacob earned his fifth save of the season and only had to throw nine pitches for three outs. The game ended by a score of 1-0.

Game 2

The first two innings were quiet until WMU scored three runs in the third inning. Toledo cut WMU’s lead in the following inning with a run.

Montoya hit an RBI single into left field, scoring Hansen, and Bollinger advanced to second base. This would be Toledo’s lone run of the game with six hits and one error.

Again, the game went quiet until the Bronco team scored its final run in the eighth inning. WMU scored its four runs on ten hits with no errors. The end score was 4 WMU, 1 UT.

Game 3

Sunday’s afternoon game went into 13 innings and took more than four hours to complete.

Toledo got on the board early with a run from an RBI sacrifice fly by Montoya to score Boss and kept the WMU bats quiet for the first two innings. The Broncos responded with two runs in the third inning and added another run in the seventh, leading the Rockets 3-1.

Tipton hit a home run for the Rockets to left-center field in the seventh inning to cut WMU’s lead to one, 3-2. Montoya copied that, only in the ninth inning, to tie the game 3-3 before extra innings.

WMU responded with three runs in the 10th inning and two more in the 13th and was feeling confident about winning in extra innings.

The Rockets had some fight left in them. Hansen was the key player coming into the 10th inning when he hit a three-run home run, bringing home Campbell and fourth-year outfielder/designated hitter Jake Krupar. Tipton hit a two-run double to left-center, scoring Adolph and Montoya.

Fourth-year right-handed pitcher Sam Shutes was the starting pitcher for UT and pitched seven innings with four strikeouts on 103 pitches, giving up three runs on four hits and one walk. Jacob came in and pitched the next three innings before Cales pitched two-and-a-third innings. Luke Schaefer pitched the final two thirds of the 13th and was credited with the win.

            The midnight blue and gold will host the University of Dayton Flyers April 5 at 3:05 p.m. This weekend, the Rockets will head south to take on rival Bowling Green State University in a three-game series with first pitches at 3:05 p.m. on Friday and 1:05 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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Baseball starts MAC play