Toledo Defeats Eastern Michigan in MAC Regular-Season Finale, 6-5
YPSILANTI, MI – Toledo closed out its regular season with a 6-5 victory against Eastern Michigan on Saturday in Mid-American Conference action at Oestrike Stadium. With the win, the Rockets improve to 22-31 overall, 13-14 in the league.
UT will now be the No. 7 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament and play No. 2 seed Buffalo in the opening round on Wednesday, May 22 in Avon. The first pitch between the Rockets and the Bulls will be at approximately 4:00 p.m. at All Pro Freight Stadium.
Freshman RHP Caleb Schillace (1-1), the fourth of five Toledo hurlers to toe the rubber in today’s regular-season finale, was credited with his first collegiate triumph. Schillace did not allow a single base runner in 2.2 innings of work.
Sophomore RHP Andrew Marra came on in relief of Schillace and recorded the final six outs to preserve the one-run win and pick up his team-tying best second save of the spring.
Offensively, freshman RF Ryan Callahan (3-for-5, 2 RBI) paced the 2012 MAC West Division champions with a team-high three hits, while junior CF Tyler Grogg (2-for-4, RS, RBI) and freshman 2B Deion Tansel (2-for-4, 3 RS) tallied two hits each. In total, eight of UT’s nine starters collected at least one hit against a trio of EMU (26-28, 12-15 MAC) pitchers.
The Rockets never trailed in today’s finale to win two of the three contests against their division rival. UT has now captured the weekend series versus EMU in three of the last four years.
Toledo opened the scoring with RBI from senior 1B Matt Delewski (1-for-5, RS, RBI) and Callahan in the first inning. The first two Rockets reached base against EMU starter Paul Schaak and both came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Delewski and a run-scoring groundout off the bat of Callahan.
After Eastern Michigan cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first, the Rockets pushed across a tally on a RBI groundout by senior DH Ben Hammer (1-for-4, 2 RBI) in the third to make the score 3-1.
The Eagles knotted the difference at 3-3 on the strength of a sacrifice fly by SS John Rubino (2-for-3, RS, RBI) and the aid of two UT errors in the fifth frame. The home team did not collect a single hit in the at-bat, but rather benefited from the two miscues, one walk and one passed ball.
The score remained the same until the seventh from Toledo plated a pair of runs to capture the advantage for good. The visitors received a pair of RBI singles by Callahan and Hammer to assume a lead they would not surrender.
Toledo tacked on an insurance tally in the eighth inning on a two-out, run-scoring hit off the bat of Grogg.
Grogg’s RBI proved to be huge as EMU countered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to make the final score 6-5. The Eagles’ DH Lee Longo (1-for-4, RBI) and 3B Jamie Simpson (0-for-3, RBI) was each credited with RBI in the frame.
EMU then threatened in the ninth and had runners on second and third base with two outs, but UT’s Marra recorded a clutch punchout to close out the road triumph.
Eastern Michigan’s Neil Butara (4-6) was tagged with the loss, allowing two runs (all earned) on five hits with one strikeout in 4.0 innings of relief duty.
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