By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Kirtland, OH---Chris Ward dominated on the mound, striking out 14, in an 8-2 win in game one, but the Express couldn't overcome a six run deficit in the second game as they split the first of two doubleheaders this weekend against Lakeland.
Game 1: Owens 8 Lakeland 2
Ward's complete game was the difference as the Express offense broke open a 3-2 game with five runs in the fifth inning.
Ward then allowed two runs (one earned) in the bottom half of the second. Each team would then produce blanks until the big fifth inning for the Express.
Ryan Horvath had a two-run double, Heatherly had an RBI single through the right side, Trevor Ozenbaugh had an RBI triple to right center and Travis Tackett had a sacrifice fly to put the Express up 8-2.
Ward then shut down Lakeland the rest of the way to pick up the win. He allowed six hits, two runs (one earned), and two walks while striking out 14.
Meanwhile, Lakeland's starter John Gora picked up the loss after he allowed five hits, eight runs and six walks while striking out six in 4.1 innings. Colton Greathouse pitched a scoreless 2.2 innings in relief of Gora.
Horvath was 2-for-4 with one run and two RBIs, while Hotmer was 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Heatherly added a 1-for-3, two run, one walk, one RBI performance.
Game 2: Lakeland 6 Owens 4
The Lakers scored three times in the fourth and fifth innings off Express pitching to take a 6-0 lead.
In the sixth, the Express tried to rally. Hotmer had a two-run double, Ozenbaugh had an RBI groundout and Clayton Ruch scored on a wild pitch to pull the Express within 6-4. However, the inning ended when Michael Louis was thrown out at third attempting to pull off a double steal of second and third with Manis.
Jordan Basinger started and took the loss for the Express. He allowed five hits, three runs and two walks while striking out two in 3.1 innings. Jesse Castilleja relieved him and allowed three hits, three runs (one earned) and zero walks while striking out one in 1.1 innings. Dane Davis then pitched a perfect 1.1 innings with one strikeout.
Ruch was 2-for-4 with a run and stolen base, while Hotmer was 1-for-2 with a run, a double, two walks and two RBIs.
The Express 17-32 (7-15 OCCAC) will close out their OCCAC and regular season schedule Saturday afternoon with another doubleheader against Lakeland CC.