By Tyler Jester, Sports Information Intern
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio Dominican's baseball team will return to the diamond this Saturday, March 8, as they take their annual spring trip down to Florida to play in the Russ Matt Central Florida Invitational. Over the eight day stretch the Panthers will play 12 games against eight different opponents.
Currently the Panthers hold a 1-2 record after a trip to Nashville, Tennessee in the last week of February. ODU won its first game of the season against Union University 11-6, before falling in their next two contests to the host school, Trevecca Nazarene, 8-0, and to Lewis University, 4-1.
The Panthers were led by senior outfielder Jossue Delgado (Barinas, Venezuela) who went 5-of-10 in the first three games with three runs scored. Sophomore infielder Jacob Horsley (Thornville, Ohio) and junior outfielder Marcus Schluessler (Zanesville, Ohio) both hit .385 (5-of-13) with Schluessler driving in two runs. Seniors Anthony Raschilla (Girard, Ohio) and Bryan Rudolph (Pickerington, Ohio) each knocked in three runs as well.
Junior Alberto Canales (West Park, Florida) recorded the win for the Panthers in their season opener. Canales went five innings, giving up only four hits while striking out three batters. The Panthers also had a strong start from senior Alex Borgan (Pickerington, Ohio), who worked a career-high 8.0 innings and struck out six while allowing just one run against Lewis.
Out of the bullpen, senior Sean Blackburn (Wadsworth, Ohio) pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings against Trevecca Nazarene, striking out three batters and giving up no hits. Junior Austin Monnin (Napoleon, Ohio) tossed a career-best 3.1 innings against Union and did not allow an earned run, either.
ODU will open up the Invitational with a doubleheader against Gannon University on Saturday at 1:00p.m. The two teams met last season, with Gannon taking both games by one run, with the second game going into extra innings. Gannon enters this week with a 2-6 record, losing six of its last seven games. The Golden Knights are led offensively by junior Zack Ranta who is batting .400 with two doubles and five runs batted in. Starting pitcher Dustin Godden has an 0-1 record with a 1.29 ERA and pitched a complete game striking out eight batters giving up one run on zero hits.
On Sunday, the Panthers will play Alderson-Broaddus. The Battlers are coming off a two game sweep over Bellarmine University and come into the Invitational with a 3-2 record. Starting pitcher Randy Dobnak has been the ace so far for Alderson-Broaddus, as he has a 2-0 record with a 0.63 ERA, striking out 13 batters in 14.1 innings.
The Panthers will then have a double header on March 10 against St. Joseph College. The Pumas have dropped their last two games and come into this weekend with a 2-4 record. St. Joseph has two batters hitting over .400 in Charlie Dennehey and Talon ParkePitcher John Williams has appeared in three games and has a 1-0 record and one save with a 1.29 ERA and .167 opponent's batting average against.
On Tuesday, March 11, the Panthers will play one game against the No. 2 nationally ranked Mavericks of Minnesota State Mankato. MNSU comes into the weekend with a 5-1 record, with their only loss coming to #24 ranked Arkansas-Monticello. The Mavericks have seven batters with a batting average above .300. Nolan Johnson is one of the main contributors offensively for MSU with a .417 batting average, two doubles, one home run, six runs scored and five RBI.
The Panthers will play Winona State for one game on Wednesday. These two teams played one time last season with WSU winning 8-7 in 11 innings. The Warriors, who have not played since Feb. 4, come to Florida with a 1-3 record. Tyler Nehring has five hits in 10 at bats, including one double, while driving in two runs. Joseph Kubra has the one win for WSU in relief as he pitched two scoreless innings.
The Panthers will be back to playing doubleheaders on Thursday, March 13, as they play Minnesota Duluth twice. The Bulldogs will be playing their first games of the season at the Invitational and will play two games against Northwood before playing the Panthers.
On Friday, ODU will play two games against Wayne State (Neb.). The Panthers dropped the only meeting between the two teams last season. The Wildcats come in losing their last two games giving them a 2-2 season record. WSU has three batters that have a .500 batting average. Michael Herman leads the group with a .900 slugging percentage, and has four doubles while driving in a team leading six.
On the final day of the trip, ODU will play one game against Seton Hill. Seton Hill recently fell out of the top 25 teams in the nation after losing two of its last three games. The Griffins come into the Invitational with a 3-3 record. SHU is led offensively by Taylor Schmidt who has already tallied 10 hits on the short season, accumulating two doubles, one triple, and three RBI's. The pitching staff is led by Alex Haines who is 2-0 in two starts for the Griffins. Haines has given up four runs on 13 hits in 14.1 innings, while striking out seven batters.
Contact: Scott Miles