COLUMBUS, Ohio – After rallying to take a 6-2 win in Saturday's opener against Walsh, Ohio Dominican's baseball team rolled to a 19-7 victory in game two to win the series against the Cavaliers.
The Panthers, ranked No. 24 in the country and No. 4 in the NCAA Midwest Region Rankings, moved back into first place by a game in the G-MAC North Division and overall conference standings at 30-11 (16-6). ODU reached the 30-win plateau for the first time since the 2015 season.
In the opener, a seven-inning contest, ODU trailed 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth, but loaded the bases with two outs. Junior Brad Hull (Gahanna, Ohio) reached on an infield single that scored junior Chris Sackett (Loveland, Ohio), and junior Noah Bland (Oberlin, Ohio) drew a bases loaded walk to tie the game at 2-2.
The Panthers took their first lead in the fifth as senior Justin Childers (Pickerington, Ohio) singled to start the inning, then later came in to score on a sac fly by senior Max Banke (Oakwood, Ohio).
ODU earned some breathing room in the sixth inning and capitalized on a pair of Walsh errors to plate three runs. Senior Cody Paterniti (Chardon, Ohio) doubled to start the inning and would come in to score on a 1-2 basehit by Bland through the left side. ODU then scored two more runs on a Walsh throwing error to extend the lead to 6-2.
The Cavaliers loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning, but senior southpaw Dustin Cowart (Hoover, Ala.) entered and needed just one pitch to induce a game-ending double play and pick up his first save of the season.
Senior Matt Kittelberger (Massillon, Ohio) worked 6.1 innings and allowed just six hits and two runs while fanning five. He threw 66 of his 100 pitches for strikes and improved to 6-4.
Paterniti went 3-for-3, Childers finished 2-for-4, and Bland had the basehit, walk and two RBIs to lead the offense.
In game two, the Panthers found themselves in a hole again, trailing 3-0 and 6-2 in the early innings, but the bats came to life while junior Garret Sendelbach (Tiffin, Ohio) provided solid relief as well.
Senior Jake Collinsworth (Oakwood, Ohio) hit a two-run homer to left to get ODU on the board in the second inning, then provided a spark in the third inning by blasting a triple to straightaway center that scored two and brought the Panthers within 6-5.
The Panthers then plated four unearned run in the fourth inning, loading the bases with one out before sophomore Joey Machuga (Canfield, Ohio) hit an RBI single to left, Sackett had an RBI grounder, and Banke ripped a two-run single to left to give ODU a 9-6 lead.
Walsh hit a solo home run in the fifth inning to close within 9-7, but the Panthers broke the game open in the sixth, sending 15 hitters to the plate as part of a nine-run inning against four different pitchers.
Collinsworth delivered the first blow, stepping in with the bases loaded and turning on an 0-2 pitch to rip a double down the left field line, scoring two. Paterniti was intentionally walked to re-load the bases, but Hull singled to score a run, and Bland followed with a towering shot that stayed fair inside the left field foul pole for a grand slam to make it 16-7.
ODU wasn't done, though, as Childers lined a homer to right-center, his eighth of the season, and Banke had an RBI single to cap the inning and give the Panthers an 18-7 lead.
The Panthers tacked on one more run in the seventh on an RBI double to right-center by freshman Josh Oddi (Gahanna, Ohio).
Overall, the Panthers finished with 19 hits in the nightcap, with four players recording at least four hits. Collinsworth finished 3-for-5, knocked in six, and was a single shy from a cycle while also walking once. Machuga went 4-for-4 with four runs scored and a walk, Childers finished 3-for-4 with four runs and two walks, and Banke went 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
Sendelbach, meanwhile, allowed just three hits and one run in 4.1 innings of relief while punching out five. He threw 42 of 70 pitches for strikes, improving to 6-1 on the season.
The Panthers have now scored 19 or more runs four times this season, and it's the third time ODU has recorded at least 19 hits. ODU has scored in double figures in 18 of 41 games as well.
ODU hits the road for its final four regular season games, starting with a 4 p.m. contest Wednesday at Ashland.
Contact: Scott Miles