Panthers Stave Off Elimination With 7-2 Win Over Grand Valley

Sean Blackburn
Sean Blackburn

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Ohio Dominican's baseball team started strong and took advantage of several Grand Valley miscues as the Panthers knocked off the GLIAC Baseball Tournament's top seed 7-2 on Thursday in day two action.

ODU, the No. 4 seed, avoided elimination after dropping its opening game of the tournament yesterday to Ashland and will take on No. 6 seed Lake Erie at 2 p.m. in an elimination game on the campus of Eastern Michigan.

After falling behind in yesterday's game 4-0 in the first inning, it was the Panthers (24-27) who struck first today, bringing home two runs in their first at bat.

Sophomore Marcus Schluessler (Zanesville, Ohio) reached on a strikeout that turned into a wild pitch, then came in to score as classmate Kyle Tisdale (Uniontown, Ohio) ripped an RBI single. Tisdale, who went to second on the throw to the plate on that play, would then come in as junior Jossue Delgado (Barinas, Venezuela) lined a single into right field to make it 2-0.

Grand Valley (29-15) threatened in the first three innings, but junior Sean Blackburn (Wadsworth, Ohio) worked out of trouble by inducing double play grounders in both the first and third frames and stranding a runner at second in the second inning with a strikeout.

The Panthers then broke free with a three-run fourth inning, benefiting from a trio of Laker errors.

Junior Bryan Rudolph (Pickerington, Ohio) struck out on a pitch in the dirt to start the inning, but the throw down to first sailed up the right field line, sending him to second base. He went to third on a flyout, then came in to score as freshman Jacob Horsley (Thornville, Ohio) lined a basehit off pitcher Kyle Teague's heel.

After a fielding error and a walk loaded the bases, junior Anthony Raschilla (Girard, Ohio) hit a grounder to the left side that went between the shortstop's legs and into left field, scoring senior Ryan Rovnak (Poland, Ohio) and Horsley and giving ODU a 5-0 advantage.

The Lakers came back with a tally in the bottom of the fourth, but Blackburn rolled up his third double play to end the inning and keep the Panthers in front.

Grand Valley threatened yet again in the sixth, loading the bases with two down, but senior Alex Borgan (Pickerington, Ohio) came on in relief and needed just one pitch as a soft chopper to Rovnak at second ended the inning.

The Panthers extended their lead to 6-1 in the seventh as Raschilla doubled deep to the wall in left-center, then scored on Rudolph's fielder's choice grounder. GVSU answered with a run in the bottom of the inning after loading the bases with one out, but Borgan escaped further trouble with a strikeout.

ODU then tacked on an insurance run in the ninth with Schluessler's sacrifice fly plating Rudolph to secure the 7-2 win.

Blackburn earned his fourth straight win on the bump, allowing six hits and just one run in 5.2 innings in improving to 4-6. Borgan held GVSU to two hits in 3.1 innings of relief.

Delgado had two of ODU's eight hits and Rudolph scored twice to pace the Panther offense. Freshman Collin Parcher (Napoleon, Ohio) drew three walks and was hit by a pitch as well.

Contact: Scott Miles

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