Florence, KY - The University of Findlay baseball team kicked off the 2017 campaign with a pair of wins against future Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) opponent Cedarville on Friday, Feb. 24. The Oilers won the first contest by a score of 8-1 and took the second in extra innings with a score of 8-7. Scoring eight runs in the first two games, Findlay equaled the number of games with eight or more runs from the entire 2016 season. It is the first 2-0 start under fourth-year head coach Steve Parrill.
Game 1 (Box Score)
Findlay wasted no time getting their first run of the season when senior Logan Harrah hit a one out double down the left field line and scored when the Yellow Jackets' shortstop made an error on the next batter.
Both teams only picked up one hit over the next four and a half innings until Cedarville got on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth. Findlay responded in the top of the sixth when junior Pete Burkett was hit by a pitch and later scored on a single from junior Josh Schwerer giving the Oilers a 2-1 lead.
The big blow in the game came in the top of the eighth inning when, with the bases loaded and one out, junior Troy Merriman blasted a ball over the left field fence for a grand slam, the first home run of Merriman's career. The four runs gave Findlay a 6-1 lead. The Oilers didn't look back as they would close out the game with a score of 8-1.
A second-team all-GLIAC performer from a year ago, senior Austin Rodesky got the nod on the hill in the first game and pitched eight innings for Findlay. He struck out seven, scattered seven hits, walked one, and allowed just one run, the home run in the fifth, en route to his first win of the season.
Senior Peter Yorgen picked up two hits and an RBI while Merriman delivered the big blow, the eighth inning grand slam.
Game 2 (Box Score)
Cedarville got on the board first in Game 2, but Findlay again picked up a first inning run when junior Christion Smith hit an infield single that scored sophomore Derrick Herd, who doubled to lead off the inning.
Herd was involved in the Oilers offense in the third inning as well when he led off with a walk and scored on a double to left field from Harrah, who advanced to third on a fly ball to deep center. With one out, Christion Smith picked up the sac fly that gave Findlay a 3-1 lead through three innings.
Down 5-3 in the fifth, Herd again reached base to lead off an inning when he roped a single up the middle and later scored on a Pete Burkett single. Another run in that inning would tie the game at 5-5.
Cedarville scored a run in the top of the seventh in the seven inning game and needed just three outs to take the win, but Derrick Herd again led off the inning with a single. With two outs, Yorgen laced a double to center that scored Herd and tied the game. Yorgen was thrown out trying to stretch that double into a triple, sending the game to extra innings.
Only one extra frame was needed, however, as Jordan Williams would single to lead off the eighth. He reached second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a fielding error. Junior Cameron Johnson hit a sac fly to scored Williams and end the game in walk-off fashion.
Herd finished the game a perfect 3-for-3 and picked up a career-high four runs scored. It was just the second time in Herd's career he has had three hits in a game.
Junior Colin Gossard started the game on the hill and pitched five innings. He allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits, while walking two and striking out seven.
First-team all-GLIAC performer AJ Cecil earned the win on the mound. He pitched just one and a third innings and allowed one run while striking out two.
Findlay and Cedarville will play the series finale tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 25 at 5:00pm in Xenia, Ohio at Grady's Field.