Toledo Runs Away from Arch-Rival Bowling Green, 9-4
BOWLING GREEN, OH - Toledo never trailed in its Mid-American Conference series opener and captured a 9-4 win over arch-rival Bowling Green on Friday at sunny Warren E. Steller Field. With the victory, the Rockets (25-24, 14-8 MAC) clinch a spot in the upcoming MAC Tournament for a fifth time in the last six seasons.
Sophomore LHP Ryan Wilkinson (7-3) was effective over the opening 5.0 innings to earn his team-best seventh win of the spring. Wilkinson allowed four runs (two earned) on eight hits with two punchouts to keep the Rockets alone in first place in the MAC West Division.
The Midnight Blue & Gold pounded out 14 hits offensively, tied for their third-highest total in a league game. Senior DH Matt Delewski (2-for-5, RS), senior 2B Joe Corfman (2-for-5, RS), senior CF Ben Hammer (2-for-5), junior 3B Wes White (2-for-4, RS), freshman RF Dan Zuchowski (2-for-3, 2 RS, 3 RBI) and freshman LF Anthony Smith (2-for-5, RS) led the offensive onslaught with two hits each. Eight of UT's nine starters had at least one hit against a trio of BGSU (19-29, 8-14 MAC) hurlers.
UT threatened to break the game open in the first frame and had the bases loaded with two outs, but BGSU LHP Matt Malewitz recorded a strikeout to stall a potential big inning.
The Rockets then jumped on the scoreboard with four runs in their second at-bat. The visitors sent seven batters to the plate and pounded out four hits in the frame, including a three-run home run off the bat of Zuchowski. The first-year Rocket turned on the first pitch from Malewitz and crushed his fourth roundtripper of the spring over the wall down the right-field line. UT scored its other run in the inning on a sacrifice fly by freshman SS Nate Langhals.
BGSU countered with one run in the bottom of the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Jake Thomas to make the score 4-1.
Toledo added to its margin with a pair of runs in the fifth inning on only one hit. The Midnight Blue & Gold took advantage of two BGSU errors & a pair of ball lost in the sun and the wind to push their lead to 6-1.
The Falcons quickly retaliated with three runs in bottom of the fifth frame of the strength of five hits to make it two-run game, 6-4. Jeremy Shay and T.J. Losby were credited with run-scoring hits to end the afternoon for UT's Wilkinson.
Fortunately for the Rockets, they were able to get those two runs back on a game-clinching two-run blast off the bat of sophomore C James Miglin in the sixth inning. Miglin blasted a two-out pitch over the wall in left-center field to collect his third roundtripper of the season.
The score remained the same until the ninth inning when UT tacked on an insurance tally to set the final score at 9-4.
Senior RHP Tyler Scott and senior RHP Lincoln Rassi came on in relief of Wilkinson and worked 2.0 scoreless frames each, allowing a combined three hits with five strikeouts to preserve the series-opening triumph.
BGSU's Malewitz (4-5) was saddled with the loss, giving up six runs (four earned) on seven hits with one strikeout in 4.2 frames.
Shay (3-for-4) paced the home team with a game-high three hits, while Brian Bien (2-for-4, RS), Logan Walker (2-for-4, RS) and Jesse Rait (2-for-4, RS) posted multi-hit efforts in a losing cause.
The Rockets and Falcons will continue their three-game series tomorrow with a 1:00 p.m. first pitch. UT is slated to start senior RHP Matt Kuna on the mound. Kuna is leading the MAC in ERA (2.09), as well as ranking tied for second in wins (6).
UTRockets.com - Your Source for Rocket Sports
Like Toledo Rockets on Facebook!
Follow the Rockets on Twitter @UTRocketsDotCom