Auburndale, Fla. – The University of Findlay baseball team slugged their way to a pair of victories on Monday, March 4 on the second day of their trip to Florida. Taking on West Virginia Wesleyan College, the Oilers pounded out 26 combined hits on the day to earn the sweep and improve to 3-1 on the season while the Bobcats fell to 3-6.
Game 1 (Box Score | W – 12-6)
Offense was the name of the game in the opener. Findlay, the visitors in the first contest, saw their first three hitters reach base with three-hole sophomore Tyler Burley delivering with an RBI single to plate the Oilers first run. Two batters later, sophomore Ryan Johnson smashed an RBI double to center field and was followed by RBI singles off the bats of junior Casey Gould and senior Trevor Anderson. In that inning, Findlay scored four runs on five hits to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
That lead was extended in the second inning on a pair of big flies. After a leadoff triple by sophomore Ethan St. Clair, senior Derrick Herd belted a home run to left field to put the Orange and Black ahead 6-0. With one out, senior Nic Varda singled and was followed with another bomb to left, this one off the bat of sophomore Ryan Johnson.
St. Clair came up again in the third inning and joined the party, sending a ball over the fence in left center to put Findlay up 9-0.
A home run from West Va. Wesleyan in the bottom of the inning cut the lead to 9-2 but Findlay's Nic Varda answered with a home run of his own in the fourth. With one out, Varda hit a ball past a diving center fielder and sprinted around the bases for an inside-the-park home run. The Bobcats hit a home run of their own in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 10-3.
Two innings later, the Bobcats left the yard twice to pull within four at 10-6.
In that stretch of five innings the two teams combined for eight home runs.
The Oilers added two runs in the top of the seventh to secure the six-run victory.
Ethan St. Clair finished 2-for-5 with three runs scored, one RBI, and eight total bases. Ryan Johnson also had two hits in five at-bats while driving in three and scoring two runs. Derrick Herd had two hits, two runs, and two RBI while Nic Varda had two hits, three runs scored, and an RBI.
Senior Mark Delas got the win on the hill in his first start of the season. He tossed five innings and allowed three runs on four hits. He struck out three and walked five.
Game 2 (Box Score | W 7-5)
The second contest was a back-and-forth affair in which the Oilers needed some clutch hits to win.
Findlay took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but West Virginia Wesleyan scored two in the third and two more in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Tyler Burley led off with a single through the left side and was followed by Nic Varda who hit a fly ball to that was mishandled by the Bobcats' left fielder allowing the duo to reach second and third with no outs. Ryan Johnson was hit by a pitch to load the bases and then Casey Gould picked up the first clutch hit of the day for the Oilers. Gould singled to right field to plate Burley and Varda, making the score 4-3. Trevor Anderson then drove in Johnson on a fielder's choice to tie the game and Tyler Archambeau followed with a single to right to give Findlay a 5-4 lead.
The Bobcats tied the game on a home run in the sixth but again, the Oilers had the clutch answer.
Burley led off the inning with a triple, but back-to-back strikeouts put two outs on the board with Burley still standing 90 feet away.
Burley picked up three hits and scored two runs while Archambeau had three hits and drive in two RBI. Casey Gould was responsible for six of the Oilers' seven runs as he finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBI.
Tyler Kennedy started on the hill and threw five innings. He allowed four runs, two earned, on four hits. Kennedy struck out six and walked five in the no-decision.
Findlay will be back in action on Wednesday, March 6 when they will take on Minnesota State Mankato.