COLUMBUS, Ohio – After winning six of eight games last week, Ohio Dominican's baseball team hits the road for six games this week, starting with a non-conference doubleheader at Malone at noon on Wednesday.
The Panthers enter the week with a record of 22-16 overall and 13-10 in the GLIAC. ODU currently sits in sixth in the conference standings, with the top six qualifying for the GLIAC Tournament (May 11-14).
ODU swept a four-game series against Findlay at home on Saturday and Sunday, outscoring the Oilers 32-8 in the process. The Panthers hit .421 in the four games, racking up 53 hits against a Findlay pitching staff that had entered the week second in the conference in ERA and batting average against.
Junior Justin Childers (Pickerington, Ohio) batted .727 with two homers and five RBIs while drawing six walks and Lee Sponseller (Mason, Ohio), who was named GLIAC Player of the Week for his efforts over all eight games, batted .643 against the Oilers with three homers and six RBIs.
Other Panthers with success at the plate included Noah Bland (Oberlin, Ohio), who hit .467, while senior Tony Evans (Medway, Ohio) batted .438 with a pair of homers and junior Cody Paterniti (Chardon, Ohio) hit .429. Sophomore Genesis Hillard (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Kyle Burson (Brunswick, Ohio) each hit .385, with Hillard homering and knocking in five.
Following the offensive output over the weekend, ODU now leads the GLIAC in batting average (.327) and slugging percentage (.514) while ranking second in on base percentage (.402). The Panthers are second in the league in home runs (45) and, despite playing the ninth-most games in the GLIAC, ranks fourth in total hits (409) and runs (269).
Childers leads the conference in slugging (.764) and sits second in the GLIAC with a .421 batting average, 48 runs scored and four triples. He is fourth in OBP (.503), RBIs (40) and steals (14) while also fifth in homers (10).
Sponseller leads the league in walks (34), is second in OBP (.513) and slugging (.713), third in home runs (11) and 10th in batting average (.377).
Evans is fifth in homers (10) and ninth in slugging (.641) while sitting sixth in runs scored (41).
ODU's pitching staff also shined, holding the Oilers to just 25 hits and five earned runs in 32 innings of work. Findlay mustered just four extra base hits, all doubles, and hit .221 for the weekend.
Sophomore Mitchell Bault (Maineville, Ohio) threw a nine inning shutout against the Oilers on Sunday, holding them to just six hits while fanning eight without walking a batter. Classmate Brad Wilson (Alexandria, Ohio) tossed a seven inning shutout on Saturday, allowing just five hits while also punching out eight. Junior Matt Kittelberger (Massillon, Ohio) tossed seven innings on Sunday and allowed just one run on five hits, and Burson picked up a win in relief on Saturday with 2.2 scoreless innings.
Wilson has a 5-2 record with a 3.28 ERA, ranking fourth in the league in wins and ERA. He is also 16th in the conference with 42 strikeouts in 46.2 innings pitched.
Malone enters the week with a 26-14 record and the Pioneers are 10-4 at home this spring. Matt Noel leads the offense with a .441 batting average and Keanan Locke is hitting .407 with a team-high six homers and 40 RBIs.
On the mound, Roscoe Blackburn has a 3-1 record with a 0.56 ERA, allowing just three earned runs in 48.1 innings.
The Pioneers swept the four-game series between these two teams last April, including a pair of extra inning wins.
After Wednesday, the Panthers will travel to Northwood for a four-game series with the Timberwolves, beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday. Northwood currently sits first in the GLIAC with a 20-4 record in conference action, and the Timberwolves are 33-9 overall. Northwood leads the GLIAC in runs scored with 316 and is third with a .323 batting average, while its pitching staff leads the conference with a 3.79 ERA and .260 opponents' batting average.
Contact: Scott Miles