CINCINNATI, OH - Toledo jumped out to a 6-0 lead and held on for a 7-5 victory over Cincinnati (10-7) on Wednesday at Marge Schott Stadium. With the win, the Rockets improve to 6-13 on the season.
Freshman LHP Ryan Wilkinson (1-1) was credited with his first triumph of the season in his first collegiate start. Wilkinson worked a season-best 3.0 scoreless frames in a controlled start, allowing three hits with one punchout.
Senior RHP Matt Zahel worked a scoreless ninth inning to close out the road triumph and pick up his team-best fourth save of the season.
Offensively, senior INF Chris Dudics (3-for-4) continued to swing a hot stick and paced the attack with three hits. The 2010 second-team All-MAC performer has now hit safely in a season-high 10-consecutive games and 17 of 19 contests this season.
Sophomore OF Andy Mix (2-for-3, RS, 3 RBI) and junior Ben Hammer (2-for-3, 2 RS, RBI) also finished with multi-hit efforts against four Bearcats pitchers.
After a pair of scoreless innings, the Rockets jumped on the scoreboard first with a tally in the third on a fielder's choice RBI off the bat of sophomore OF Tyler Grogg. Mix began the frame with a two-base hit, followed by an infield single by Dudics to put runners on the corners. Grogg then stepped to the plate and put the ball in play on the left side on the infield to score Mix for his first collegiate RBI.
The Midnight Blue & Gold added to its lead with a three-run double by Mix in the fourth to make the score 4-0. UT's effort was aided in the frame by a walk, a UC throwing error and a catcher's interference to build a four-run cushion.
Toledo continued to put quality at-bats in the fifth frame and plated two tallies to chase UC starter Brad Mergen (0-2). UT pounded out four hits in the inning, including a RBI single by junior INF Joe Corfman.
Cincinnati did not generate many legitimate scoring chances through the opening five innings against Wilkinson and junior RHP Tyler Scott, before plating a run in the sixth on a fielder's choice RBI by Justine Riddell to break up the shutout.
The Rockets were able to get that run back with an insurance tally in the top of the seventh to assume a comfortable six-run cushion, 7-1.
Unfortunately for Toledo, the home team sent 10 batters to the plate against a pair of UT hurlers in the bottom of the seventh and registered four runs to close the gap to 7-5. The Bearcats strung together five-consecutive hits against junior RHP Alex Radon, including a two-run home run off the bat of Chris Peters, to make it a two-run difference.
UT then turned to the back end of its bullpen down the stretch and received outstanding innings from freshman RHP Adam Tyson and Zahel to close out the tough road victory.
The Rockets will remain on the road to open Mid-American Conference play at reigning league-tourney champion Kent State on March 25-27. Friday's contest from Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium is slated for 3:00 p.m., while Saturday's and Sunday's games will begin at 1:00 p.m.
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