By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Adrian, Mich.---The Owens Community College baseball team picked up a sweep of Adrian College in a non-conference doubleheader today at Nicolay Field.
With the victories, Owens has now won 11 of the past 12 games. They will take a 28-11 record into this weekend's series against No. 6 Cuyahoga Community College (39-10).
Game 1: Owens d. Adrian College 5-3
Adrian College used six pitchers in today's first game, but Owens jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held on for the win.
In the second inning, Nick Wolfe (Genoa/Genoa, Ohio) picked up a one out single and came around on a triple from Eric Hotchkiss (Bedford/Lambertville, Mich.). The lead doubled in the next at bat when Kyle Kozlaker (Clay/Oregon, Ohio) knocked Hotchkiss in with a groundout to short.
Then, after a 1-2-3 third inning, Owens doubled its lead in the fourth when Stephen Parker (Eisenhower/Shelby Township, Mich.) roped a two-run single to right center, just out of the reach of Adrian's second baseman, Jordan Torrento, who leaped in an attempt to catch the ball, but had it glance off his glove.
Wolfe, who reached on a fielder's choice, and Hotchkiss, who was hit by a pitch, both scored on the play.
Owens took a five run lead in the fifth when Jake Wichlacz (Eisenhower/Macomb, Mich.) got caught in a rundown between first and second, which allowed Jake Schmeltz (Eastwood/Perrysburg, Ohio) to scamper home from third.
On the mound, Noah Pierce (Central Catholic/Toledo, Ohio) cruised through the first four innings. He allowed just one single and one hit batter through the first two innings, and then he retired the side 1-2-3 in the third and fourth innings.
In the fifth, however, he walked the first two batters on eight pitches, which earned him the hook from head coach John Parisho, who decided to replace him with Damian Clarke (Waterdown District/Carlisle, Ontario, Canada).
Both of the inherited runners scored against Clarke, but one of them was unearned due to an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt. A 4-6-3 double play with the bases loaded prevented further damage in the inning. Miccoy Drzewicki then drilled a solo home run to lead off the sixth and pull Adrian within two.
Clarke, however, retired the next six batters he faced to pick up his third save of the year. His final line included three innings, one hit, one run, one walk and two strikeouts.
Pierce, meanwhile, improved to 4-0 this year with the win. In his four plus innings, he allowed just one hit, two runs (one earned) and two walks while striking out four.
Hotchkiss was the lone Owens player with a multi-hit game as he finished 2-for-2 with two runs and an RBI. Parker, who went 1-for-3 with two RBI, joined six others with at least one hit apiece. Eight of the nine batters in the lineup for Owens picked up at least one hit.
Tyler Gnodtke, who was the second of six Adrian pitchers, took the loss after allowing the first two runs in the second inning.
Game 2: Owens d. Adrian 8-5
Owens pulled off an 8-5 win in today's second game in comeback fashion, largely due to a four run seventh inning that broke open a tie game.
Adrian College scored single runs in the first and second innings off Owens starter Billy Todorowski (Springfield/Holland, Ohio) to take an early lead. The first run came on a walk and a pair of singles through the left side, and the second run came on a pair of doubles, the second of which blooped safely down the right field line.
The Owens offense, meanwhile, was busy being retired in order over the first three innings. That all changed in the fourth inning, though, when they exploded for three runs on four hits.
Gose picked up the first of his three infield singles to start the rally. Schmeltz then belted a single through the left side on a hit and run to put runners on the corners. Francis Vasquez (Norman Thomas/New York, N.Y.) followed with a sacrifice fly to center.
Following another flyout and a steal of third by Schmeltz, Devin Burns (Springfield/Holland, Ohio) and Wolfe connected on an RBI triple and an RBI double, respectively, to give Owens a 3-2 lead.
Adrian College answered with a pair of runs in the fourth. The first run came on a throwing error, and the second run came on a wild pitch. On the wild pitch, Wolfe threw out an Adrian's Matthew Mueller, who was trying to advance to third, for the final out.
The back-and-forth action continued in the next half inning with an odd run. Kozlaker led off with a line drive single to left field, and then advanced all the way around the bases on two passed balls and a wild pitch to knot the game at four apiece.
The game's next six batters were retired in order before Adrian nearly rallied to take the lead in the home half of the sixth. With one out, a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases against Owens reliever Quintin Cantelli (Perkins/Sandusky, Ohio).
Dugan Darnell, however, grounded to Cantelli back at the mound in the next at bat, He threw home to Wolfe, who then threw to Schmeltz at first to complete a 1-2-3 double play and keep the game tied heading to the seventh.
Scott Suminski entered to pitch for Adrian and promptly walked Hotchkiss to lead off the seventh. After Kozlaker sacrificed him to second, Hotchkiss scored the go-ahead run on a single to right center by Parker.
Gose followed with his third straight infield single and stole second to put a pair of runners in scoring position for Schmeltz, who lined a single up the middle to score both runs. Vasquez followed with a single to put runners on the corners.
Then, similar to the play in the first game, Vasquez got caught in a rundown between first and second, which allowed Schmeltz to scamper home for an 8-4 lead.
Cantelli allowed a walk and a single to lead off the home half, which brought on an appearance from Hunter Kraynak (Portage/Portage, Ind.), who had not allowed an earned run in 15 innings this year.
Although one of the inherited runners scored, Kraynak's streak continued as he picked up his third save of the season.
Cantelli, who's final line included 2.2 innings, three hits, one run, two walks and one strikeout, improved to 3-1 this year with the relief win. Todorowski received a no decision after going 3.1 innings and allowing six hits, four runs (two earned) and three walks with three strikeouts.
Suminski took the loss for Adrian.
Offensively, Gose led Owens with a 3-for-4, two run, three stolen base performance, while Schmeltz (2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB) and Burns (2-for-4, R, 3B, RBI) also contributed. Five others picked up one hit apiece.
Aaron Ajrouche led Adrian offensively by finishing 3-for-4 with two runs.
Owens now has 28 wins, which puts them two away from the program's first 30 win season since 2010, which was the final year of the Bob Schultz era. At that point, Owens had recorded six straight 30 plus win seasons and in nine of the previous 11 years. With two more wins this year, it would mark the 10th season in program history with 30 or more wins.
Furthermore, should Owens sweep Cuyahoga this weekend, they could claim the program's first OCCAC championship since 2009. Cuyahoga needs just one win to claim the conference title. The conference champion earns the first Ohio bid to the Region XII tournament, while everyone else will have to battle it out in the Sub-Region XII tournament for the second bid.
Owens is the defending Sub-Region XII champion.
As a reminder, Thursday's home doubleheader vs Cleary University has been canceled.
Gose, who leads the team with a .400 batting average, eclipsed 50 runs and 20 stolen bases in today's doubleheader. He is now 10 runs away from 100 in his career.