Venditti, Bueter Combine for 22 Strikeouts as Panthers Split
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's baseball team battled the elements and a resilient Hillsdale squad to come away with a doubleheader split on Saturday, falling 2-1 in 11 innings in the opener before bouncing back for a 4-3 game two victory.
The Panthers remained at .500 overall on the season at 20-20 and 12-14 in the GLIAC, but fell a game in the standings to Tiffin, which swept Northwood and is 15-15 in GLIAC play. The Dragons currently hold the sixth and final tournament seed.
Hillsdale (11-31, 9-21 GLIAC) won game one's extra inning marathon after the start was delayed over an hour due to rain in Central Ohio. Junior right hander Nick Venditti (Brecksville, Ohio) was dominant early, allowing just a pair of hits through the first three innings and fanning the side in the second.
The Chargers scored the game's first run in the fourth, though, as a walk, a wild pitch, and consecutive flyouts put Hillsdale on top 1-0 without the benefit of a hit.
Hits were hard to come by for the Panthers early as well, with ODU not picking up its first hit until the bottom of the fifth as freshman Kyle Tisdale (Uniontown, Ohio) laced a single to center. However, the Panthers could not score that inning, nor in the sixth after putting two runners on board.
Venditti, however, kept Hillsdale in check, retiring seven straight between the fifth and seventh innings to keep the deficit at 1-0, and ODU finally responded in the bottom of the seventh. Tisdale singled with one out, and pinch-runner Marcus Schluessler (Zanesville, Ohio) took advantage of a pair of wild pitches to move to third. Senior John Bowron (Dayton, Ohio) then sent a 3-2 pitch through the left side of the infield to score Schluessler and knot the game at one.
Bowron would steal second and move to third on another wild pitch, but was cut down at the plate on a fielder's choice grounder for the second out, and the Panthers would leave two on board in the inning to send it to extras.
Venditti worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the eighth with his career-high 11th punchout, and the Panthers again threatened to win in the bottom half, loading the bases with one out. Another runner was thrown out at home, though, and a pop out ended the threat.
ODU had another chance in the ninth, as redshirt junior Zack Dascenzo (Uniontown, Pa.) singled to start the inning and went to second on a sacrifice bunt, but he was stranded there as Hillsdale second baseman Nolan Nunez made a sliding catch in short right-center to end the inning.
Hillsdale finally cracked through in the 11th, with an infield single and throwing error setting up their scoring chance. After a wild pitch, Nunez had the go-ahead RBI single for the Chargers to make it 2-1.
The Panthers didn't quietly in their final at bat, though, as freshman John Simindinger (Lima, Ohio) laid down a perfect drag bunt to reach with two outs, then stole second to get himself in scoring position. Senior Tyler Zaidel (Cincinnati, Ohio) then hit a liner into right-center that Charger right fielder Scott Rhodes made a diving catch on to end it.
The loss spoiled a superlative outing by Venditti, who worked eight innings and struck out the 11 hitters while walking just three. He yielded five hits and one earned run while throwing 69 of his 107 pitches for strikes. The outing was Venditti's longest since his nine-inning perfect game on May 10, 2010 against Fisher College, and the 11 strikeouts were the most by a Panther since Andy Onak fanned 12 against St. Francis on March 13, 2010. That number would be equaled in game two, though.
Freshman Tucker Hughes (Sabina, Ohio) pitched well in relief but was hit with the loss after allowing the run in the 11th, going three innings and striking out two while allowing three hits. Twenty-five of his 29 pitches were strikes.
The Panthers managed just five hits in the opener and went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Tisdale went 2-for-3 to lead the offense.
In game two, ODU jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first and held on from there. Freshman Jake Simmerman (Westerville, Ohio) had a bases loaded single to score the first run, Bowron had an RBI groundout, and Jurevicius ripped a two-run double into the gap in left-center to score two to give the Panthers the early lead.
Freshman Austin Bueter (Wauseon, Ohio) worked in and out of trouble all game, fanning two with two on in the second and, after walking two to load the bases in the fourth, striking out the final two hitters to keep ODU in front.
Hillsdale finally scored in the fifth to make it 4-1, then loaded the bases in the sixth with one out. Bueter again had the strikeout pitch working, fanning the last two hitters to keep it a 4-1 game.
The Chargers put together a rally in the seventh, though, as with one down a double, a walk and a single made it 4-2. Bueter notched his 11th strikeout, matching Venditti's total in the opener, but another basehit cut ODU's lead to 4-3. A lineout to Bowron in left ended the trouble though and salvaged the split for ODU.
Bueter allowed 10 hits and walked four in his first complete game effort, with the 11 strikeouts also marking a season-best. He threw 127 pitches, with 78 of them strikes.
The Panthers notched eight hits in the second contest, with Tisdale again finishing 2-for-3 at the dish. He now has nine multi-hit games on the season.
ODU and Hillsdale complete their four-game series with a noon doubleheader Sunday.
Contact: Scott Miles