WILSON, N.C. – Seniors Cory Contini (Dover, Ohio) and Joey Machuga (Canfield, Ohio) each collected four hits but the Panthers dropped both halves of its doubleheader with #20 Mercyhurst and Shepherd on Friday, March 6.
Ohio Dominican (1-9) saw Mercyhurst rally late, as the Lakers took the first game of the day, 7-6. The Panthers then fell to Shepherd in Game Two, 12-7.
GAME ONE (vs. Mercyhurst)
Despite outhitting the nationally-ranked Lakers 13-6, the Panthers left 15 runners on base and allowed six runs over the final four innings to fall 7-6. Contini went 3-for-4 at the plate, walked twice, scored two runs and added a stolen base. ODU's Nos. 3-5 spots in the lineup, Machuga, sophomore Michael Lang (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore Manny Vorhees (Wapakoneta, Ohio), each went 2-for-5 and drove in one run.
The opening three batters reached for the Panthers in the top of the first inning, as Contini singled, followed by senior Roger Danison (Carroll, Ohio) and Machuga each being hit by a pitch. Vorhees later added a line drive single to right field to score Contini for the first run of the game. The Panthers added a second run in the frame with a sac fly from freshman Derek Kutrubs (Brunswick, Ohio).
Both teams scored in the second inning, giving the Black & Gold a 3-1 edge. A pair of walks placed runners on first and second for ODU and Machuga hit a two-out base hit to score senior Jace Komminsk (Westerville, Ohio).
After a scoreless third, the Panthers tacked on three more runs in the top of the fourth. Danison hit a two-run blast over the right field fence and after Machuga singled and advanced on a pair of wild pitches, Lang drove the senior in with a base hit through the left side.
Sophomore Joel Roediger (Wapakoneta, Ohio) made his second start of the season, pitching the first three innings. Roediger did not allow a hit, but walked three batters to concede one run. The sophomore did strikeout three batters in his outing.
The Panthers were then held scoreless for the remainder of the contest, as Mercyhurst rallied with three runs in the sixth and three more in the eighth to take a 7-6 lead. ODU went in order in the ninth to secure the win for the Lakers.
Ohio Dominican left seven runners stranded over the final five innings. In relief, sophomore Jonathan Novinec (Gahanna, Ohio) and senior Tyler Dalzell (Amherst, Ohio) combined for seven strikeouts, giving Panther pitching 10 K's in the contest.
GAME TWO (vs. Shepherd)
ODU was held hitless through four innings in the nightcap against Shepherd, as the Rams scored seven runs in the first four frames to capture a 7-1 lead. The Panthers had the bases loaded in the bottom of the first thanks to a pair of fielding miscues by SU. Unfortunately, the Black & Gold could not capitalize on any runs early on.
The Panthers though did scratch across a run in the fourth inning, as Vorhees crossed home plate after being hit by a pitch earlier in the frame. Back-to-back doubles from Danison and Machuga resulted in a run in the fifth as well, making the score 8-2.
After the Rams opened the sixth inning with a solo blast, the Panthers responded with two runs in the bottom half. Consecutive two-out singles from senior Brad Hull (Gahanna, Ohio) and Contini scored Kutrubs and freshman Brennen Hunt (Ashland, Ohio). ODU trailed 9-4.
Despite a three-run eighth by the Panthers, Shepherd tacked on three runs over their own to win 12-7. Kutrubs led off the frame with a double, followed by a single from Hunt and a hit by pitch by sophomore Thomas Staab (Bellville, Ohio). All three Panthers came home in the inning.
Shepherd held a 13-9 edge in hits. The Rams also tallied at least one run in eight of the nine innings. Hunt and Vorhees each recorded two hits in the second half of the twin bill.
The Panthers will look to bounce back with a 2 p.m. game against Lock Haven on Saturday, March 7.
Contact: Tyler Jester