The University of Findlay baseball team dropped its long-awaited season opener, game one of a double-header vs. the Lewis University Flyers on Sunday, March 2nd in Auburndale Florida at the Russmatt Baseball Invitational, by a final of 4-2.
The Flyers jumped out to an early lead against Oiler starter, senior Drew Hargrove, with three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Findlay would respond in the top of inning number two with some offense of their own. With one out, sophomore Kris Hayward was hit by a pitch. The next batter, sophomore Jordan Garcia, beat out an infield single to put runners on first and second with no outs. Sophomore Nick Antonides then stepped to the plate and delivered as he laced a double to left center field that scored two runs to bring the score to 3-2. Antonides was left at second after a strike out and a fly out to end the top of the second.
After some scattered action in the next inning, Lewis broke through again with a run in the bottom of the fourth that pushed their lead to 4-2.
The Oilers final chance would come in the top of the sixth inning where they put two runners on with two outs, but that chance was squandered by some solid pitching from the Flyers.
Leading the offense for Findlay was Antonides collected a double and 2 RBI. Hargrove took the loss on the mound and falls to 0-1 on the season.
Game two is slated to begin in 20 minutes.
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The University of Findlay baseball took game two of a double-header vs. Lewis University in dramatic fashion. The Oilers walked-off in the bottom of the 10th inning to win by a final of 7-6, giving Coach Parrill his first win as the Findlay skipper.
The Oilers fell behind in the top of the first as the Flyers scored two quick runs off of senior Derek Draper. However, the damage could have been much worse as Draper coaxed the final out with the bases loaded, stranding three runners and leaving the score at 2-0.
The bottom of the first was the answer Findlay needed as junior Tyler Donaldson worked a walk to lead off the inning and moments later, stole second. Following a groundout that advanced Donaldson to third, senior short stop Reid Rothenbuhler drove a fly ball deep to right field that allowed Donaldson to score, bringing the score to 2-1. Freshman Austin Adams followed with his first collegiate hit as he roped a single to left, but was stranded due to a groundout.
The Flyers scored one run in the top of the second but Findlay battled back for two runs. The inning began with sophomore Kris Hayward's third hit-by-pitch of the day. Following a sacrifice bunt and flyout, senior Michael Louis was also the recipient of a bean ball. With runners on first and second, Donaldson delivered with a triple, scoring two runs and tying the ball game. But the Oilers were not done there. Senior Joe Sickler ripped a single to right center, scoring Donaldson, and giving Findlay their first lead of the season at 4-3.
Lewis was not intimidated as they put together scored a run and loaded the bases in the top of the third, ending Draper's day on the mound. With the score tied 4-4, freshman AJ Cecil entered the game and delivered as he forced a fly out to end the threat.
Two-out runs are often what win games and the Oilers got just what they needed in the bottom of the fourth. With the first two batters of the inning being retired, Donaldson, who had the big triple earlier, singled and stole second. Sickler then hit a single through the left side, scoring Donaldson and pushing the Oilers ahead, 5-4 with three innings to play.
That lead held as Cecil cruised through the next 2 innings but ran into some trouble in the top of the seventh. The freshman was recipient to some bad luck as the Flyers received an infield single followed by a stolen base. That runner then advanced to third on a passed ball. Cecil set down the next hitter on strikes and then received more bad luck as an error that would've ended the game, allowed the runner to score. That run tied the game at 5-5 and following a walk, forced Cecil out of the game in place of junior Alex Williams.
Findlay was unable to muster any offense in the bottom of the seventh, sending the game to extra innings.
Extra innings was full of drama as Lewis scored a run in the top of the eighth, forcing Findlay to come up with something in the bottom half. With the score 6-5, Adams singled to left to lead off the inning. Freshman Logan Harrah then entered the game as a pinch runner and advance to second on a sacrifice bunt. A groundout moved Harrah to third and a passed ball sent him home to tie the game 6-6.
The teams traded quiet inning after quiet inning, scattering hits throughout, but nothing that was threatening. This went on into the 10th inning when the Oilers finally broke through.
With one out, sophomore Nick Antonides singled up the box into center field. That hit was followed by a hit-by-pitch drawn by Hayward, his fifth HBP in the double-header. A mishandle by the Flyers catcher allowed the runners to each advance one base and with runners on second and third and one out, sophomore Jordan Garcia delivered with a single to left, scoring Antonides and winning the game for the Oilers.
The winning pitcher for Findlay was junior Alex Williams who came out of the bullpen to keep the Flyers at bay.
The win is the first for Head Coach Steve Parrill who took over the Findlay squad this past fall and evens the Oilers record at 1-1 on the year.
The team will be back in action tomorrow for a single game tomorrow morning vs. the 5-7 University of St. Francis Fighting Saints. This game is set to begin at 9:00am.
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