Toledo Prevails Late Against Akron in Series Finale, 4-3
TOLEDO, OH – Sophomore 1B Tyler Baar delivered a RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Toledo to a 4-3 victory against Akron on Saturday at snowy Mercy Field. With the win, the Rockets improve to 9-14 overall, 2-4 in the Mid-American Conference.
Baar (1-for-5, RBI) laced a two-out hit down the right-field line to score sophomore SS Deion Tansel with the game-winning run and help UT salvage the series finale against the Zips (12-11, 5-1 MAC).
Tansel led off the deciding frame with one of seven walk on the afternoon against UA RHP Masashi Sakamoto (2-1) and advanced into scoring position on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by senior CF Tyler Grogg (0-for-1, 2 RS, 3 BB, 2 SB). After an intentional walk to possibly set up a force out situational, Tansel moved forward 90 feet on a fielder’s choice by sophomore RF Ryan Callahan (2-for-5, 2 RBI) to bring Baar to the plate. The second-year Rocket saved his best for last and turned on an inside pitch from Sakamoto and ripped a hit through the right side to score Tansel and send the UT bench and fans into a frenzy.
Junior RHP Andrew Marra (1-0) retired the only two batters he faced in the ninth to earn his first victory in 2014.
Offensively, senior C James Miglin (2-for-4), junior 2B Nate Langhals (2-for-4, RS), junior 3B Dan Zuchowski (2-for-4, RBI) and Callahan led the Midnight Blue & Gold with two hits each.
UT drew first blood on a run-scoring single by Callahan in the first inning. With one out in the frame, Grogg drew a free pass and promptly moved into scoring position with a theft. Callahan then stepped to the dish and blasted a single back up the middle to collect his fourth RBI on the year.
Toledo sophomore LHP Ross Achter cruised through the first two frames before running into trouble in the third. The southpaw hurler allowed the first five UA batters to reach base and the initial two came around to score, ending his afternoon. The Zips capitalized on RBI singles from 2B James Sheltrown (1-for-2, RS, RBI) and LF Kris Simonton (2-for-4, RBI) to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage.
The Rockets had a golden opportunity to recapture the lead in the bottom of the third, as they had the bases loaded with no outs but let it slip through their fingers. The home team hit into a pair of infield groundouts at home plate and struck out to squander a quality scoring chance.
Two innings later, Toledo took advantage of a RBI single by Callahan to knot the score at 2-2. Similar to the first frame, UT’s Grogg drew a one-out walk and moved into scoring position on a stolen base. Callahan swiftly brought him home for the equalizer with a single to the gap in right-center field.
Akron then momentarily recaptured the lead with an unearned run in the seventh against UT sophomore RHP Caleb Schillace. With runners at the corners and two outs, UA C Brady Stewart (0-for-4) hit a slow roller toward Toledo third basemen Zuchowski, who tried to make an off-balance throw to first base that ended up down the right-field line and allowed the visitors to go back in front.
UT proved to be a resilient bunch, though, and tied the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh on a RBI single off the bat of Zuchowski. The Warren, MI native ripped a single to left field with runners on second and third base with one out to register his squad-best 13th RBI of the spring.
Achter drew his fifth start of the season and allowed two runs (both earned) on three hits with two walks and one strikeout in 2.2 innings of work in a no-decision.
Schillace was outstanding in relief and gave up one unearned run on four hits with two walks and one punchout in a career-high 4.1 frames.
Sophomore RHP John Martillotta also toed the rubber for the home team and surrendered only two hits with one free pass in 1.1 innings of relief duty.
UA’s Sakamoto was saddled with the loss, giving up one run (one earned) on one hit with two walks in 0.2 frames.
Akron was paced at the plate by DH Dom Iero (2-for-3, RS), 3B James Meeker (2-for-3, RS) and Simonton with two hits each.
The Rockets return to action on Tuesday, April 1 when they host Wright State in non-conference action. The first pitch against the Raiders is slated for 3:05 p.m. at Mercy Field. Sophomore RHP Kyle Slack has been penciled in as the tentative starter on the hill for UT.
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