Toledo Completes Weekend Sweep Against Bowling Green with 2-1 Extra-Inning Victory
BOWLING GREEN, OH - Senior CF Ben Hammer's RBI single in the 11th frame lifted Toledo to a 2-1 victory against arch-rival Bowling Green on Sunday at Warren E. Steller Field. With the extra-inning triumph, the Rockets complete the weekend sweep and improve to 27-24 overall, 16-8 in the Mid-American Conference.
In the second extra frame, senior 2B Joe Corfman set the table with a one-out double down the left-field line. Hammer then stepped to the dish and laced a single up the middle off BGSU reliever Nick Bruns (3-3) to score the Rockets' leadoff hitter with the eventual game-winning tally.
Corfman (4-for-6, 2 RS) led a balanced UT attack with a season-tying best four hits. The fourth-year Rocket collected multi-hit efforts in all three games this weekend and in the process equaled the school record for most career hits (254) with former teammate Chris Dudics (2008-11).
Joining Corfman with more than one hit in today's series finale were Hammer (3-for-4, RBI) and senior DH Matt Delewski (2-for-4). In all, seven of UT's starters pounded out hits against a trio of BGSU (19-31, 8-16 MAC) pitchers.
Senior RHP Lincoln Rassi (3-0) was credited with his third win of the spring in 1.2 scoreless relief innings. Rassi allowed two hits with one strikeout to help the Midnight Blue & Gold maintain a one-game lead in the MAC West Division over second-place Central Michigan (28-25, 15-9 MAC).
UT also received outstanding pitching performances from junior RHP Mike Hamann and senior RHP Tyler Scott. Hamann gave up one run on seven hits with a season-tying best seven strikeouts over the first 6.0 frames, before Scott surrendered only one hit with a pair of punchouts in 3.1 innings.
The Rockets threatened in each of the first two frames and put a runner on third base, but each time BGSU LHP Patrick Martin recorded an infield out to keep the series finale scoreless.
Bowling Green broke through for the game's first run on a RBI single off the bat of Jake Thomas in the fourth inning. The home team's damage could have been a lot worse as they had the bases loaded with only one out, but UT's Hamann induced a strikeout and a fly out to limit the damage.
The score remained the same until the seventh frame when freshman RF Dan Zuchowski delivered a two-out, two-strike RBI single through the right side to knot the score at 1-1. UT collected three straight two-out singles against BGSU's Bruns to draw the teams even.
The Rockets were dealt a potential scary moment in the bottom of the ninth frame when BGSU's Andrew Kubuski rifled a ball down the left-field line. UT freshman LF Anthony Smith had a good jump on the hit and made an acrobatic catch as it was tailing away from him to rob Kubuski of a possible extra-base hit.
In the first extra inning, UT received a pair of two-out singles to put runners on the corners. Unfortunately for the MAC West Division frontrunners, BGSU's Bruns forced a fielder's choice ground out to keep the score tied at 1-1.
The Falcons were also presented with a golden opportunity in the bottom of the 10th frame. The home team's Tyler Wynn led off with a double to the gap in right-center field against UT's Scott. Wynn was immediately advanced to third base on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Brandon Howard, forcing Toledo Head Coach Cory Mee to make a pitching change with the game-winning run just 90 feet away. The fearless Rassi came in and quickly erased BGSU's Patrick Lancaster and Brian Bien to prolong the contest.
Following UT's run in the top of the 11th inning, BGSU collected a pair of hits and had a catcher's interference to load the base against Rassi, but one more time the Rockets' hard-throwing hurler recorded a pair of outs to preserve the victory. None of the outs was as big as the last one though, as Wynn launched a full-count pitch into the gap in left-center field. Toledo junior LF Tyler Grogg, who entered the contest as a pinch runner in the 10th inning, came up with an acrobatic diving catch at the edge of the warning track to close out the victory and sent the UT bench and fans into a frenzy.
BGSU's Kubuski (3-for-5), TJ Losby (2-for-5, RS) and Wynn (2-for-5) totaled at least two hits in a losing effort.
Bruns was saddled with the setback, giving up two runs on eight hits with one strikeout in 4.2 innings.
The Falcons also received a tremendous start from Martin, yielding five hits with one strikeout in 6.0 shutout innings.
Toledo will round out non-league action on Tuesday, May 15 at Big Ten member Ohio State. The first pitch against the Buckeyes will be at Noon from Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.
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