Massillon, Ohio – The University of Findlay baseball team is headed into their final week of the regular season after a double-header split with Malone University on Sunday, April 29. The Oilers dropped the first Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) North Division matchup by a score of 5-2, but rallied from an 8-7 deficit in the final inning of the nightcap to earn an 11-8 victory. After the split, Findlay is now 21-13 on the season and holds a 14-8 record in league play while the Pioneers are now 30-15 overall and 16-8 in the G-MAC.
It was too little, too late in the first contest as the Oilers' only runs of the game came as single runs in the fifth and seventh innings, despite putting up eight hits in the game.
Malone first got on the scoreboard in the third inning with one run but bounced back for two in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
Junior Alex Harter took the loss on the hill for Findlay as he threw 4.1 innings and allowed five earned runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out two.
Junior Derrick Herd was the big bat for the Oilers, picking up three hits in four at-bats. He, along with freshman Ryan O'Malley, scored the only runs of the game. Freshman Ethan St. Clair, sophomore Casey Gould, junior Nic Varda, senior Josh Schwerer, and O'Malley had the other hits for the Orange and Black.
The final game of the series finally showed the offensive firepower that the Oilers have displayed much of the year.
After two quick outs to start the game, a fielding error allowed Nic Varda to reach base. Freshman Ryan Johnson then followed with a single up the middle and fellow freshman Tyler Burley then roped a single through the left side putting the Oilers ahead 1-0. Another error, this time by the Pioneers' first baseman, allowed two more runs to score giving the visiting team an early 3-0 advantage.
Another run in the second inning put Findlay ahead 4-0, but Malone tagged Findlay starter, senior Alexander Theiss, for three runs in the second with the big hit being a two-RBI triple.
Findlay put up another single run in the third on blast over the right field fence off the bat of Nic Varda, but Malone again answered, this time with two runs, to tie the game at 5-5 through three innings.
An RBI single off the bat of Gould in the eighth put Findlay ahead by two runs at 7-5 with just six outs remaining, but a pair of errors in the bottom of the eighth allowed the Pioneers to take an 8-7 lead heading into the ninth.
With their backs against the wall and facing a series sweep, the Oilers got singles from senior Troy Merriman, Herd, Johnson, and Gould to help push four runs across and help Findlay regain the lead.
Senior Josh Robinson, who entered the game in the eighth inning, struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to seal the win.
Robinson tossed two innings and earned the win, improving to 2-2 on the season. He came in the game following freshman Jordan Bekier who, out of the pen, threw 4.1 innings and allowed one run on three hits and struck out four.
Theiss got the start and lasted 2.2 innings while giving up five runs, two earned, on six hits. He walked one and struck out two.
Herd again led the Oilers offense, going 4-for-6 in the game, all singles. He scored a run and had one RBI, as did Ethan St. Clair who finished the game 3-for-5.
Casey Gould delivered with runners on as he led the squad with four RBI on a 3-for-6 performance at the dish. He was joined by Merriman and Burley as the other players to record multiple hits. Burley had two runs and an RBI while Merriman scored one run.
Nic Varda also produced, scoring three runs and picking up an RBI on his third inning big fly.
Findlay's only remaining games are this weekend at home when they host the conference's top team in Ohio Dominican. The Panthers will invade The Cube on Friday and Saturday, May 4-5 for the final series of the year. The Oilers are looking to earn a spot in the conference tournament in just the first year in the Great Midwest.