Saturday, May 21, 2016: the last time the Rockets of the University of Toledo clinched a series win in baseball.
As of April 2, 2017, that drought is no more. The Rockets secured a win in their series with Western Michigan when Brad Boss hit a walk off single to left field in the bottom of the thirteenth inning on Sunday afternoon.
The games began on Friday when Toledo ousted the Broncos 1-0. The lone run in the game came in the fourth inning when Junior Matt Hansen hit a shot over the right field wall. The game was fought out between the starters as both clubs’ bullpen put in just one inning of work. These pitchers also allowed for four hits. One of Toledo’s happened to score a run, and that was the difference in the game.
Saturday’s matchup was decided by a difference of three runs. It ended in favor of Western Michigan. The deciding factor was a third inning in which Toledo’s starting pitcher, Ross Achter, allowed three runs on three hits and a fielding error. Two of the runs were unearned, but the third was charged to Achter. Their fourth run came in the 8th on a Vogelmeir RBI single. The Rockets got one back in the fourth on an AJ Montoya RBI, but that was it for Toledo’s offense.
Sunday’s game was, in retrospect, the biggest one of the year for the University of Toledo Rockets. They were going for their first series win of the year. The Rockets came out of the gates firing with their first run coming in the bottom of the first on an AJ Montoya sacrifice fly. The Broncos responded with two of their own in the third, and that 2-1 score would hold until the seventh inning. Goodwin earned himself an infield single, and he would be brought around on two sacrifice bunts and a stolen base. Toledo answered back quickly when Corey Tipton sent a solo shot over the fence in left center in the bottom of the same inning. AJ Montoya homered in the bottom of the ninth to keep the Rocket faithful’s hopes alive.
To this point in the matchup, Western Michigan had six hits to Toledo’s three. This is where their offenses decided to pick up. In the top of the tenth , Western Michigan took the lead with three runs on three hits. In theory, they seemed to have some breathing room.
Jake Krupar came in to pinch hit to lead off the ninth, and Riley Campbell walked soon after. Matt Hansen then came up to the plate with one out, and he smashed the baseball over the right center wall. When the tenth was all said and done, the teams were tied at 6. Nothing was going in the 11th or 12th for either side.
Then, the 13th inning rolled around. Toledo went to Luke Schaefer, a sophomore RHP that has had issues controlling his pitches all year, after WMU threatened a run. Schaffer gave up two runs, but only one was charged to him as the first baserunner came from his predecessor. Toledo went into the bottom of the 13th trailing 8-6. AJ Montoya led off the inning with a single up the middle, but the next hitter flied out to left. After a Ross Adolph double, Corey Tipton brought them around with a double of his own. He was then brought in on a walkout single to left field by Brad Boss.
The Rockets had done it. They’d won a series for the first time since May of 2016. And, which may raise an eyebrow, the series win came over one of the three teams in the MAC that are over .500 overall.
Toledo returns to action on Tuesday at Wright State, and the Broncos will look to bounce back Wednesday at Valparaiso.