YPSILANTI, Mich. – With their seasons on the line, Ohio Dominican and Lake Erie went toe-to-toe for 11 innings in Friday's elimination game at the GLIAC Baseball Tournament, and the Panthers outlasted the Storm 8-7 on a two-run walkoff single by Anthony Raschilla (Girard, Ohio).
The junior first baseman stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 11th and ripped the first pitch he saw through the left side of the infield, scoring freshman Dylan West (Westerville, Ohio) for the tying run and sophomore Marcus Schluessler (Zanesville, Ohio) for the winning tally.
With the victory, Ohio Dominican (25-27) advances to Saturday's championship round. The Panthers will face the winner of tonight's Grand Valley-Ashland contest at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Oestrike Stadium. ODU will need to win two games Saturday to claim the title and earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament.
Lake Erie (18-30) had taken a 7-6 lead in the top half of the 11th, loading the bases with two outs and pushing across the go-ahead run after a Panther fielding error with two outs.
West was hit by a pitch to start the 11th and Schluessler walked to put two on. Senior Ryan Rovnak (Poland, Ohio) put down a sacrifice bunt to move them into scoring position, and after sophomore Kyle Tisdale (Uniontown, Ohio) got ahead in the count 2-0, he was intentionally walked to load the bases in front of Raschilla.
The First Team All-GLIAC selection delivered with his second walkoff hit of the season after also having a two-run single in ODU's win over Ohio Wesleyan in April.
Freshman Ryan Colegate (Centerville, Ohio) picked up the win after throwing 2.2 innings of relief.
The contest was tight throughout, with both starting pitchers putting up zeros through the first three and a half innings. The Panther offense finally got to Lake Erie starter Brad Raley in the fourth, as freshman Collin Parcher (Napoleon, Ohio) delivered an RBI single to right-center that brought in Rovnak for a 1-0 ODU lead.
Lake Erie bounced back in the fifth, though, taking advantage of two ODU errors to score three unearned runs against ODU starter Nick Venditti (Brecksville, Ohio) and take a 3-1 lead.
The Panthers struck back quickly with three runs of their own in the bottom half. Freshman Jacob Horsley (Thornville, Ohio) started things with a basehit up the middle, Schluessler was hit by a pitch and Rovnak singled down the left field line for a run.
Raschilla then followed with an RBI basehit up the middle and Parcher delivered his second RBI single in as many innings to put the Panthers back on top 4-3.
Lake Erie came back with a run in its ensuing at bat to tie it at 4-4, but Venditti kept the Storm off the board in the sixth and seventh innings.
ODU then came up with some clutch hitting from its freshmen in the bottom of the eighth and seemed to take control of the game. Parcher singled to start the inning and was lifted for pinch-runner Ian Sullinger (Lexington, Ohio).
After a sacrifice bunt by junior Jossue Delgado (Barinas, Venezuela) moved Sullinger to second, Horsley ripped a two-out basehit back up the middle to give the Panthers a 5-4 lead. West then singled home Horsley for his first RBI of the season, staking ODU to a 6-4 lead.
Lake Erie didn't go quietly in the ninth, though. The first two hitters reached and after a sacrifice bunt moved them to second and third, a two-run double knotted the game at 6-6, sending it to extras.
Venditti did not earn a decision in his second-longest outing of the season. The right-hander went 8.1 innings and was charged with six runs, though just three were earned. He walked two and struck out two, allowing 10 hits.
Colegate improved to 3-2 on the spring.
Raschilla led ODU's offensive attack with his three hits and three RBI, while Parcher also had three hits and knocked in two. Rovnak and Horsley also had two hits apiece for the Panthers.
ODU improved to 7-10 in one-run games and 3-5 in extra inning affairs as well.
Contact: Scott Miles