Baseball Earns Saturday Split At Grand Valley

Photo By Rebekah Walker
Photo By Rebekah Walker

ALLENDALE, Mich. – Ohio Dominican's baseball team fended off host Grand Valley as the Panthers took game two of Saturday's GLIAC doubleheader 5-1. The Panthers bounced back after suffering a 9-8 loss in eight innings in the opener.

The Panthers (14-11, 5-5 GLIAC) struck first in game two, as an RBI grounder by junior Lee Sponseller (Mason, Ohio) put ODU in front 1-0 in the second inning. In the third, sophomore Colin Kaucher (Toledo, Ohio) walked to start the frame and sophomore Genesis Hillard (Cincinnati, Ohio) doubled to put runners on second and third. Kaucher scored on a grounder by senior Kyle Burson (Brunswick, Ohio), and a wild pitch brought Hillard home to extend the lead to 3-0.

The Lakers answered with a run in the fourth inning, but stranded runners on second and third as sophomore Garret Sendelbach (Tiffin, Ohio) induced a pop out to end the frame. Grand Valley loaded the bases with two men down in the fifth frame, but Sendelbach escaped damage again with a ground out to Evans closing the inning.

ODU then picked up some breathing room in the sixth as sophomore Brad Hull (Gahanna, Ohio) hit a two-run single to left-center, scoring junior Cody Paterniti (Chardon, Ohio) and sophomore Noah Bland (Oberlin, Ohio), and giving the Panthers a 5-1 cushion.

In the bottom of the inning, freshman Ben Speer (Mason, Ohio) entered in relief and picked up a double play grounder and a strikeout to end the frame.

The Lakers put two on again in the seventh, but a fly out to center ended the contest.

Sendelbach improved to 3-1 on the campaign as he allowed six hits and one unearned run in 5.0 innings. He struck out four.

The Panthers, who finished with nine hits, were paced offensively by Hillard (2-for-2, two walks) and Bland (2-for-3, two steals). Paterniti scored two runs as well.

In game one, Bland hit a solo homer to left in the second inning, and the Panthers scored five times in the fourth to go on top 6-2. With two outs, Sponseller hit a two-run shot to right field, junior Justin Childers (Pickerington, Ohio) followed with an RBI double, and Hillard capped the scoring with a two-run single to give the Panthers their cushion.

The lead grew to 8-2 in the fifth on a fielder's choice grounder that scored Burson and an RBI basehit from Sponseller.

However, the Lakers climbed back in with four runs with two outs in the fifth inning, then scored one run in the sixth and seventh innings to tie the game at 8-8.

ODU had a chance to regain the lead in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs, but could not capitalize. GVSU then had an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to pick up the walkoff win.

Sponseller went 2-for-4 with a walk and knocked in three and Childers also had a pair of hits with a steal. Evans and Kaucher each had one hit and drew two walks while Kaucher stole a base.

The two teams will conclude their four game series with a doubleheader at noon Sunday in Allendale. It will be televised on ESPN3.

Contact: Scott Miles