On Wednesday, March 26, The University of Findlay baseball team, still unable to play at the friendly confines of The Cube, hit the road to VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe, Ohio for make-up contests vs. Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) foe Tiffin University in a series opening double-header. The Oilers took Game 1 in walk-off fashion by a final of 2-1, earning their first conference win of the year. Game 2 was a different story as the Dragons bats got hot, giving the visitors a 7-4 win. The split moved the Oilers record to 4-11 (1-4) on the season.
In Game 1, a contest that was dominated by pitching, Findlay was able to muster the offense it needed to support the strong performance on the mound from Drew Hargrove.
The Dragons struck early as they put together three straight hits in the first inning and scored a run, the only run of the day for Tiffin as Hargrove settled down and pitched seven scoreless innings.
After that first inning, only one base runner advanced to third base for either team, until the bottom half of the fifth.
The Oilers began their half with two quick outs and it appeared as though another scoreless inning was in the making, that is, until Michael Louis came to the plate. The senior ripped a single through the left side of the infield and was followed by Tyler Donaldson who hit a soft line drive to center. Tiffin's outfielder made a diving attempt that failed and the ball rolled slowly into the outfield. Louis was able to come around and score on the play and Donaldson strolled into third with a triple and RBI, but most importantly, the tying run Findlay needed. Jordan Garcia then walked and stole second, but a strikeout ended the threat.
Pitching again took over. Between the fifth and tenth innings, Tiffin amassed just three hits and Findlay had zero.
In the bottom of the 10th inning, with one out, Garcia singled through the box into center field and advanced to second on a sac bunt from Kevin Schrock then to third on a passed ball. Enter Reid Rothenbuhler. The senior took an outside fastball through the right side of the infield, scoring Garcia and ending the game with a mob scene at first base.
In the no-decision effort, Hargrove went eight innings and allowed just one run on seven hits. He walked two and struck out five and threw 106 pitches.
Alex Williams, who earned the win, came out of the bullpen and imposed his dominance as he set down all six hitters he faced.
Leading the offense for Findlay was Garcia, who showed he was comfortable in the lead-off role as he went 2-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Rothenbuhler, Louis, Donaldson, and Joe Sickler each collected a hit in the win.
In Game 2, Findlay got on the board first, but that offense wasn't enough to earn the double-header sweep.
The bottom of the first inning began with a Garcia single to left and following a sac bunt, Garcia came around to score on a base knock by Sickler, giving the Oilers a 1-0 lead after one inning.
That lead would last until the top of inning number four when the Dragons scored two runs on the strength of three hits, making their lead 2-1, a lead that they would not lose.
The deficit worsened for the Oilers in the top of the sixth as Tiffin torched Findlay's pitchers for four runs on five hits. The lead after this inning was 6-1.
Down 7-2 and needing at least five runs, Findlay's half of the seventh went quickly, ending the game.
A.J. Cecil took the loss on the mound as he went 5+ innings allowing five runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out one.
Leading the offense again was Garcia. He went 3-4 in the game and scored a run. The sophomore finished with five hits in the double header.
The Oilers will be back in action tomorrow, Thursday, March 27 as the conclude their series with the Dragons as they will travel to Tiffin for a game slated to begin at 2:00pm.