Mother nature has not done us any favors to start this young baseball season, but as they say the show must go on. The Akron Zips (12-11, 5-1 MAC) were set to square off against the Toledo Rockets (9-14, 2-4 MAC) in Scott Park this weekend, but the field is still in no condition to be used due to inclement weather. Instead the series was played in Mercy Field with strong winds, and cold temps that hovered in the mid 30's for a double header.
Game One was bizarre. The game showcased a talent of pitching and hitting yet yielded very few runs. 20 hits and six alks later the Zips were victorious on a comeback that showed a team who just won't go away without a fight. For the Rockets Senior Tyler Grogg went three for six at the plate while fellow freshman Jacob Britt also chipped in three hits and two runs batted in. The Rockets could not take advantage of a brilliant start from senior LHP Ryan Wilkinson. Wilkinson allowed an earned run on eight hits, two walks and five strikeouts over seven innings of work. The two runs would not be enough though as closer Adam Tyson (2-1) would allow two runs in the top of the 9th inning with two outs to seal the fate of the Rockets.
For the Zips Joey Havrilak and James Sheltrown each recorded two hits, and a RBI. Havrliak scored the game winning run on a wild pitch. For the Zips John Valek tossed 6.1 innings allowing two runs on eight hits, and two walks. The win was picked up by Masashi Sakamoto (2-1). Sakamoto tossed 2.2 scoreless innings in relief only allowing two base runners.
Game two was no different as far as the bats are concerned. With 19 hits allowed and 7 walks the fans were able to see a ton of base runners all day. The difference in game two was the scoring. Joey Havrlik again was the star for the Zips. Havrlik was three for five with four runs batted in. Kris Simonton was a beneficiary of batting in front of Havrlik scoring three runs while collecting two hits in five at bats. Devan Ahart produced a pair of RBI and Brady Stewart added one of his own. The Zips struck early and often scoring all seven runs in the first four innings of the game.
For the Rockets Jacob Britt was 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and three runs scored. Deion Tansel chipped in two RBI, while Ryan Callahan had the other. Sam Schutes (1-1) was tagged with the loss allowing seven runs (all earned), eight hits, no walks, and four strikeouts in only four innings of work. The real story was relief pitcher, freshman Stephen Calhoun. Calhoun gave the Rockets a great chance to comeback by allowing no runs on a single hit, and punching out five. The Rockets though did most of their damage in the first four innings as well, producing five runs through four innings, and were only able to produce one run in the final five.
Game three finally produced a win for the Rockets. Tyler Baar played the role of hero after struggling all day when he delivered a RBI single in the ninth inning. The ball was smashed down the right field line as Deion Tansel was able to stroll home and plate the winning run. The much needed victory for the Rockets was picked up by Andew Marra (1-0). Marra recorded two outs against the only two batters he faced in the ninth.Ross Achter had a tough day only going 2.2 innings and allowing two runs. He actually allowed the first five batters to reach base in the third which helped end his day early.
For Akron the loss was picked up by Masashi Sakamoto (2-1). The Zips lead the majority of the day but couldn't hold on down the stretch. Dom Iero, James Meeker and Kris Simonton lead the way for the Zips at the plate collecting two hits a piece. Miles Mcveigh did a decent job of giving his team a chance to win allowing only two runs (both earned) in five innings of work.
The Zips are proving to be a strong and surging team in the MAC East, while the Toledo Rockets are looking to bounce back and get back above the .500 mark in the coming week. The next conference series for the Zips will take place in Oxford against the Miami RedHawks. The Rockets will square off against the Northern Illinois Huskies in DeKalb.