WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Ohio Dominican's baseball team suffered a pair of one-run setbacks to Gannon on Saturday, falling 5-4 in the opener and 7-6 in extra innings in the nightcap in the first two games of play at the Russ Matt Central Florida Invitational.
With the setbacks, ODU fell to 2-3 on the season, while Gannon is now 2-0.
ODU jumped to a 1-0 lead in the opener with Rovnak singling home classmate Chase Westphal (Brecksville, Ohio) in the bottom of the third. Gannon responded with all five of its runs in the fourth and fifth innings, though, after senior pitcher Nick Venditti (Brecksville, Ohio) had retired the first nine hitters he faced, giving the Knights a 5-1 lead.
The Panthers stranded two runners in the fifth but broke through with a run in the sixth as sophomore Vince Bartolone (Broadview Heights, Ohio) doubled, went to third on a Phil Jaskot (Upper Arlington, Ohio) basehit and came in to score on Westphal's sacrifice fly.
ODU then mounted another rally in the bottom of the seventh, as Parcher doubled home junior Christian Prince (Hudsonville, Mich.) and sophomore Kyle Tisdale (Uniontown, Ohio) with one down to bring the Panthers to within 5-4. However, a fly out and a lineout would end the Panther rally as Gannon held on for the victory.
Venditti was tagged with the loss as he tossed a complete game. Outside of the fourth and fifth frames, he allowed just one base runner on an error and yielded just hits in the contest.
Rovnak finished with three hits to lead the Panther offense in the opener.
ODU held a 6-1 advantage in game two but could not hold on as the Knights scored the game's final six runs, including the winning tally in the bottom of the ninth.
Rovnak's RBI single scored junior Jossue Delgado (Barinas, Venezuela) in the first inning, and the Panthers would later take a 2-1 lead in the fourth as sophomore Kevin Lydic (Dublin, Ohio) doubled home Bartolone for his first collegiate RBI.
The Panthers appeared to break the game open in the fifth as Parcher launched a two-out grand slam, the first home run of the season for the freshman, staking ODU to its five-run lead.
Gannon answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning, then roared back to tie it in the sixth with four runs of its own to knot the game at 6-6.
The Knights had a chance to win it in the seventh, loading the bases, but junior Sean Blackburn (Wadsworth, Ohio) ended the threat by inducing a groundout.
The Panther offense could not manage a base runner in either the eighth or ninth innings, though, and Gannon won it on a walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth.
Lydic had two of ODU's six hits in game two, while Blackburn suffered the loss. Senior Alex Borgan (Pickerington, Ohio) started and allowed six runs in 5.2 innings, striking out six hitters.
Ohio Dominican returns to action at 3 p.m. Sunday against Wayne State (Neb.) in Winter Haven.
Contact: Scott Miles