By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Myrtle Beach, SC---The Express continued to roll at the Ripken Experience as they moved to 5-0 on the season with two more wins, 9-2 over NJCAA Division I Marshalltown Community College and 9-6 over Danville (Va.) Community College.
Game 1: Owens 9 Marshalltown 2
In the first game, Austin Gunn (Delta/Delta, Ohio) led off the game with a single and Jesse Solomon (Wayne/Huber Heights, Ohio) then promptly knocked him in with a two-run home run to put the Express ahead 2-0.
Owens starter, Andy Joseph (Central Catholic/Toledo, Ohio) then retired the first six Marshalltown batters he faced before the Tigers broke through for a run in the third to cut the Express lead in half.
However, the momentum quickly shifted back to Owens as the Express plated four runs in the fourth. Travis Tackett (Switzerland County/Vevay, Ind.), Michael Louis (Normandy/Parma, Ohio), and Solomon each drove in a run in the inning, which featured two Marshalltown errors.
Jeff Davis (St. Francis/Toledo, Ohio) then took over on the mound for Joseph to begin the fifth. The freshman finished the game, allowing two hits, one run and two walks while striking out four in his three innings.
Joseph (1-0) picked up the win in his four-inning stint, giving up three hits, one run and one walk while striking out three.
Marshalltown (3-5) added one run in the bottom of the seventh, but it was too little, too late to change the outcome.
Solomon and Sickler led the Express with two hits each. Solomon finished 2-for-4 with a run and three RBIs â€" including his two-run home run. Sickler was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
Six different Owens hitters picked up RBIs, while the team accumulated eight hits.
Game 2: Owens 9 Danville 6
In game two, the Express jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the first inning. Scott Robinson (Coventry/Coventry, Ohio) drew a bases loaded walk, and Moore knocked two more in with a single.
Danville (7-4) would add one more in the second off Express starter Titus Pierce (Eastern/Reedsville, Ohio) to cut the lead to 3-2. However, Owens scored two more in the third on a bases loaded walk to Danny Schira (Switzerland County/Vevay, Ind.) and a passed ball that scored Moore.
Danville countered back to take the lead with four of its own in the fourth inning. Ryan Hotmer (Lake/Millbury, Ohio) relieved Pierce on the mound after a single, a home run, and a walk to start the inning. Hotmer allowed the inherited runner and one more to score, but stranded two to keep the deficit at one.
Then, Sickler singled and stole second to begin the fifth for the Express before Robinson singled him home to tie the game.
A two-out, no one on rally in the sixth plated three more runs and gave the Express their winning margin. Matt Hayes (North/Pickerington, Ohio) and Garrett Busch (Start/Toledo, Ohio) singled to start the rally. Nate Miceli (Berea/Berea, Ohio) came in to pinch run for Hayes before Sickler doubled him home. Hotmer then laced a two-run single to put the Express up three.
Daniel Heatherly (Trenton/Trenton, Mich.) then scattered a single while striking out the side in the seventh to pick up the save.
Pierce allowed his five runs on five hits over the first three innings, while Hotmer allowed one run on three hits and two walks in his three innings.
The Express were led offensively by Hayes (2-for-3, run, BB), Busch (2-for-4, two runs) and Sickler (2-for-3, RBI, three runs). Robinson and Moore added two RBIs each.
The Express now have today off before another doubleheader on Thursday as they take on John Wood Community College and Florence-Darling Tech. College beginning at 12 p.m.