Toledo Participates in Panther Classic This Weekend
PITTSBURGH, PA - Toledo (5-9) will look to continue its strong play as of late when it competes in four games at the Panther Classic on Friday-Sunday, March 15-17. The Rockets will battle Niagara each of the first two days at Noon at Charles L. Cost Field, before tangling with host Pittsburgh on two occasions over the final two days at 3:00 p.m.
UT has won three of its last five contests after claiming a 6-1 victory at Dayton on Tuesday. The Midnight Blue & Gold is hitting at an impressive .352 clip during this recent stretch, averaging 5.8 runs on 12.4 hits per game. Junior OF Jacob North and junior OF Tyler Grogg have sparked the offensive explosion, batting .538 (7-for-13) and .524 (11-for-21), respectively. On the mound, UT has also been quite effective as of late, holding the opposition to 4.2 runs on 8.6 hits and a .253 average.
Overall this spring, Grogg is hitting a team-high .474 (18-for-38) with a squad-best 13 runs scored and nine stolen bases, followed closely by senior DH Matt Delewski at .406 (26-for-64).
On the mound, head coach Cory Mee is expected to give the ball to senior LHP Kyle Shaw (1-2, 3.68 ERA, 22.0 IP, 22 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 6 BB, 13 K) and freshman RHP Kyle Slack (1-1, 3.52 ERA, 15.1 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 6 ER, 10 BB, 9 K) against the Purple Eagles. The 10th-year skipper has also slated junior RHP Cameron Palmer (1-0, 2.77 ERA, 13.0 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 18 K) and junior LHP Ryan Wilkinson (0-1, 5.31 ERA, 20.1 IP, 32 H, 16 R, 12 ER, 5 BB, 10 K) to start the final two games against the Panthers.
Niagara is 3-13 this season under the direction of fifth-year head coach Rob McCoy. The Purple Eagles are led offensively by the duo of Michael Fuhrman and Ryan McCauley with .292 and .283 averages, respectively. A year ago, NU led the MAAC in three offensive categories: batting average (.290), home runs (30), and slugging percentage (.413). They also added 11 wins to their overall record on their way to a 19-29 finish.
Pittsburgh is 9-5 in 2013 under the direction of 15th-year skipper Joe Jordano. The Panthers are paced offensively by the trio of Eric Hess, Sam Parente and Casey Roche with .440, .389 and .382 averages, respectively. Last spring, Pitt made its fourth straight appearance in the Big East Tournament and was one of only four teams to advance to the tourney each of the past four seasons.
UT will participate in the Panther Classic for the second time in the last three seasons, losing three of four games during the 2011 campaign. The Rockets defeated Niagara and lost to Youngstown State on two occasions and Pitt once.
Following this weekend's Panther Classic, Toledo will play at Wright State on Wednesday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m.
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