By Owens Sports Information
Vincennes, IN---Sophomore first baseman Austin Cowan drove in five runs to help power the Owens Express to a 13-7 win over Cuyahoga Community College in the winner's bracket of the 2013 NJCAA Region XII Sub-Regional at Vincennes University.
The Express erased 4-1 and 6-4 deficits to reach the finals of the Sub-Regional, which will be held on Saturday at Jerry Blemker Field.
Owens (2-0) cracked the scoring column in the top of the first inning as Cowan plated center fielder Justin Elder with an RBI single to right field. Elder started the game by getting hit by a pitch from Tri-C starter Cody Miller.
Cuyahoga (1-1) got that run right back in their half of the first on an RBI single by catcher Rey Carrion, and then added two in the second and a single run in the third to take a 4-1 lead.
The Express finally figured out Miller in the 4th inning. Cowan got it started by getting hit with a pitch. Right fielder Ryan Horvath and second baseman Nick Collins followed with singles to load the bases with no outs. Owens would score the next three runs on a walk, a hit batsman and another walk. That was the end of the day for Miller. Tri-C called on Nick Meronoff to get out of a jam, and he did, getting a ground out and strikeout.
Owens threatened again, loading the bases in the 5th inning, but couldn't push any runs across keeping it at four-all until the bottom half of the frame. The Challengers got three consecutive base hits to load the bases and used two sacrifice flies to take a 6-4 lead.
The Express would then blow the game open in the sixth inning. Cowen drove home a pair with a towering double to left field. Collins chased home a pair with a triple down the right field line and Anthony Perez finished off the five-run frame with an RBI single.
Cuyahoga got an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth to draw within two at 9-7, but the Express put it away with four more in the top of the seventh. Cowan found the deep gap in left center with the sacks juiced to score two. Collins drove home his third of the game with an RBI single to right and designated hitter Benjamin Breymier made it 13-7 with a sacrifice fly to center.
Owens reliever Garrett Scott got Cuyahoga to go 1-2-3 in the seventh to finish out the game.
Sean Koerber got the win for OCC with two innings of relief work. He gave up two runs onthree hits. He struck out two and walked one. Scott got the save.
Meronoff took the loss for the Challengers. He gave up three runs on three hits in 2-1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out none.
Cowan and Collins were both 4-for-4 in the game and reached safely five times. Breymier and Perez also drove in two apiece.
The Express will now have to wait to see who they will play in Saturday's Sub-Regional Championship round. They will either face Sinclair, who advanced by eliminating Vincennes, or Cuyahoga again. The Tartan Pride and Challengers will play at 11:00 a.m.
Owens only needs to win one game to advance to the Region XII Tournament in Battle Creek. Sinclair or Cuyahoga would have to defeat the Express twice.