By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, OH---The Express (17-7, 3-3 OCCAC) broke out of a recent funk with a doubleheader sweep of Lorain County Community College at home behind a pitching staff that only allowed three hits combined in 5-1 and 11-0 victories.
Game 1: Owens 5 Lorain County 1
Lorain County's first two batters bunted and reached on throwing errors by Pierce, which allowed the only run to score. Following that, Pierce (2-2) settled down to only allow one hit while striking out nine.
Owens had a chance to break the game open in the first inning, but settled for two runs while leaving the bases loaded. The first three Express batters - Jesse Solomon (Wayne/Huber Heights, Ohio), Joe Sickler (Bowling Green/Bowling Green, Ohio), and Matt Hayes (North/Pickerington, Ohio) - reached on singles to load the bases.
After Hotmer struck out, Garrett Busch (Start/Toledo, Ohio) and Blake Schmenk (Perrysburg, Ohio) drew bases loaded walks to put Owens up 2-1. However, Lorain County starter Nick Traxler got the next two batters via a strikeout and a flyout.
Neither team scored again until the bottom of the fifth when Hotmer hit his solo homer to right field making the score 3-1. Then, Owens added two unearned runs in the sixth on an error by Lorain County left fielder Paul Kubuski, who was the one Lorain County player to pick up a hit.
Solomon finished the day 2-for-4 with a run and a stolen base, while five other players picked up one hit apiece. Sickler added two runs scored.
Travis Tackett (Switzerland County/Vevay, Ind.) started the game at first base for Owens, but broke his wrist on a play at first during the game's first at bat. Hotmer replaced him in the lineup.
The seven inning game only took an hour and a half amid heavy winds. Owens had lost five of their last six games coming in.
Game 2: Owens 11 Lorain County 0
The bats came alive for the Express, while Andy Joseph (3-1) pitched four strong innings in the shutout win.
Joseph (Southview/Sylvania, Ohio) allowed only two hits and two walks while striking out seven before Hotmer pitched a scoreless fifth.
Solomon terrorized Commodore pitching all game as he finished 4-for-4 with three runs and two RBI. He also stole three bases.
It was Solomon who started things off for the Express from the leadoff spot. The sophomore singled, stole second and scored on a single by Sickler to put Owens up 1-0 two batters into the game.
Busch later added an RBI single and James Moore Jr. (Southfield Lathrup/Farmington Hills, Mich.) added an RBI groundout to put Owens up 3-0 after the first.
In the second, Hayes lined a two run double to right center scoring Sickler and Solomon before Daniel Heatherly (Trenton/Trenton, Mich.), who saw his first action offensively this season due to Tackett's injury, hit an RBI double to left center to score Hayes. Schmenk then knocked Heatherly in with a single to left field putting Owens up 7-0.
After scoring three in the first and four in the second, Owens added four more in the third to finish their scoring for the day. The inning featured four Express stolen bases - Michael Louis (Normandy/Parma, Ohio) with two, Solomon with one, and Austin Gunn (Delta/Delta, Ohio) with one. The runs came via a two-run single by Solomon, an RBI groundout by Sickler and an RBI single down the left field line by Busch.
Aside from Solomon's four-hit game, Busch (2-3, two RBI) and Schmenk (2-2, RBI) each had two hits. Overall, the Express stole seven bases.
Ian Klingshirn took the loss for Lorain County, who used three pitchers in the five innings. Klingshirn allowed eight hits, eight runs (seven earned), and two walks in 2.1 innings. Lorain County's pitchers did not strike out a single Express batter in the second game.
Notes: The Express traveled to Elyria, Ohio on Saturday to play Lorain County at The Pipe Yard. However, the action was delayed less than 10 pitches into the game when lightning was spotted. Shortly thereafter, a storm featuring rain and pea-sized hail came down to postpone the doubleheader...Owens will now play a conference foe Sinclair Community College at home on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Sinclair swept the Express in Dayton, Ohio on April 10.