Toledo Escapes Late Against Oakland in Home Opener, 3-2
TOLEDO, OH - Senior CF Ben Hammer's RBI single in the ninth inning lifted Toledo to a 3-2 victory over Oakland on Wednesday in its home opener at Scott Park. With the win, the Rockets improve to 8-11 on the season.
Hammer perfectly placed a fly ball just inside the left field line with the bases loaded to score senior DH Matt Delewski with the game-winning tally, running UT's home-opening win streak to seven consecutive games.
Freshman SS Dan Zuchowski began the ninth inning rally with a one out walk. Delewski then singled to put runners at the corners. Junior LF Tyler Grogg drew another free pass to load the bases and bring senior 2B Joe Corfman to the plate. With the infield drawn in, Corfman reached on a fielder's choice with Zuchowski getting erased at home plate to set the stage for Hammer's late-game heroics.
Freshman RHP Andrew Marra (1-0) was credited with his first collegiate victory in relief. The fifth and final UT hurler to toe the rubber in today's non-league contest, Marra worked 1.0 scoreless inning with one punchout.
Sophomore LHP Ryan Wilkinson made his third start of the spring and looked good over the initial 5.2 frames. Wilkinson allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits with three strikeouts in a no-decision.
The Midnight Blue & Gold also received outstanding relief efforts from junior RHP Cody Umbright, senior RHP Tyler Scott and senior RHP Lincoln Rassi to help them claim the home triumph.
Offensively, freshman 3B Anthony Smith (3-for-4, RS, HR, 2 RBI) and Hammer (2-for-5, RBI) paced the victors with multi-hit efforts.
Smith opened the scoring for UT with a solo home run to left center field in the second inning. The Hinckley, OH native turned on a two-strike pitch and blasted it over the wall for his first collegiate round tripper.
Two innings later, Smith collected a two-strike, RBI single to give the home team a 2-0 cushion.
The Golden Grizzlies (3-13) threatened in the fifth frame with runners at second and third base with one out, but UT's Wilkinson recorded a shallow fly out and a ground out to stall the threat.
Oakland finally solved Wilkinson in the sixth inning, plating both runs to end the afternoon for the southpaw hurler. The visitors registerd their first tally on a RBI groundout off the bat of Ian Yetsko, while the equalizer came on the aid of a throwing error by sophomore C James Miglin with a runner on third base.
Toledo was also presented with a golden opportunity to retake the lead in the seventh frame, as it had runs on first and second base with two outs and Corfman at the plate. Unfortunately for the fourth-year letterwinner and the Rockets, he flew out to center field to keep the score tied.
Oakland's Russell Luxton (0-3) was saddled with the loss, allowing one run on two hits in 0.2 innings of relief.
Aaron Cieslak (2-for-3) led the Golden Grizzlies with two hits.
The Rockets will return to action on Friday, March 23 when they Mid-American Conference play against East Division foe Ohio. The first pitch from Scott Park is slated for 3:05 p.m.
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