CANTON, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's baseball team split a pair of tight games at Malone, winning the opener 6-3 before falling 5-2 in a G-MAC doubleheader Friday at Thurman Munson Stadium.
ODU, ranked No. 15 in the country, moved to 23-7 (12-3 G-MAC), while the Pioneers are now 23-11 (12-5 G-MAC).
In the opener, the Panthers fell behind 1-0, but scored four unanswered runs to grab the lead.
Junior Noah Bland (Oberlin, Ohio) hit a solo homer to center to even the score in the third, and the Panthers racked up five hits as part of a three-run fifth inning. Bland had an RBI single, followed by an RBI basehit from senior Justin Childers (Pickerington, Ohio), and junior Chris Sackett (Loveland, Ohio) hit a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring in the frame.
Malone inched closer with two runs in the sixth, but ODU turned the ball over to its junior closer Brad Wilson (Alexandria, Ohio) in the seventh. The right-hander would retire all nine hitters he faced in the final three innings, striking out four, and ODU took advantage of a fielding error in the ninth to score twice more for the final cushion.
Wilson needed just 33 pitches to record his seventh save of the campaign, throwing 25 of them for strikes. He lowered his ERA to 0.47 and has now struck out 32 in 19.1 innings pitched, having allowed just four hits and three walks.
Senior Matt Kittelberger (Massillon, Ohio) worked 6.0 innings to pick up the win, improving to 5-3 on the season. He allowed just four hits and three runs (two earned).
Bland went 2-for-2 with the two RBIs and two runs scored while junior Colin Kaucher (Toledo, Ohio) also finished with two hits. Childers finished with a hit and a walk as well.
In game two, ODU had a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning, but the Pioneers took advantage of an ODU defensive miscue to score four runs in the bottom of the inning to ultimately take the win.
Down 1-0 in the fourth inning, Sackett singled, went to third on a pair of groundouts, then scored on a passed ball to tie the game. ODU took its lead in the next inning as Childers doubled and Kaucher followed with an RBI single to make it 2-1.
Malone then countered with its four runs in the bottom of the frame, and the Panthers would leave the bases loaded in the seventh inning to suffer the setback.
Junior Joe Filosa (Fort Wayne, Ind.) was the tough-luck loser despite throwing 5.0 quality innings, yielding three earned runs and striking out seven while walking just one.
Childers went 2-for-3 with a walk and sophomore Joey Machuga (Canfield, Ohio) went 2-for-4.
Ohio Dominican and Malone close their series with a 1:30 p.m. first pitch on Saturday at Thurman Munson Stadium.
Contact: Scott Miles