ASHLAND, Ohio – The AU baseball team earned some measure of revenge against Lake Erie on Wednesday (April 25) afternoon at Donges Field. The Eagles split a doubleheader with the Storm, winning Game 1, 5-1, before falling in Game 2, 9-0.
The split gives AU a season series win over the Storm after sweeping LEC in Painesville, Ohio, on April 4. Last season, Lake Erie took three of four games from the Eagles.
On Wednesday, AU junior right-hander Zach Botjer (Deshler, Ohio/Sinclair CC) took command of Game 1 and did not let it go.
Lake Erie (22-18, 18-8 GLIAC) scored its only run off Botjer in the fourth inning, but the Eagles got it back in the bottom half on an RBI infield single by freshman Stephen James (Westlake, Ohio).
In the fifth, freshman Giancarlo Saia (Mentor, Ohio/Lake Catholic) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Kaido pounded a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left-center for his first career home run. Kaido finished the day going 5-for-6 with three RBI.
Botjer (7-3) was excellent for the Eagles in picking up his sixth straight win. He allowed just one run on four hits in a complete game. Botjer walked two and struck out four. He threw 95 pitches – 63 for strikes.
Jimmie Shaw (0-1) took the loss for Lake Erie, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in four innings.
Senior Zach Thompson (Marshalltown, Iowa/Cleveland State) and James were each 2-for-3 with a run scored. No other AU player besides Kaido had a hit in the game. Matt Toth was the only Storm player with two hits.
In Game 2, the Eagles pounded out eight hits, but could not scratch out any runs off Lake Erie starter Russ Hogue.
The Storm scored a run in each of the first two innings before breaking the game open in the third with five runs off AU starter Aaron Hilt (Richmond, Ohio/Edison). Aaron Lindgren's two-run single was the key hit in the inning.
Hilt (6-6) took the loss for the Eagles. Right-handed reliever Joe Malfara (Port Clinton, Ohio) was solid, allowing just two unearned runs on five hits in 4.2 innings.
Hogue (1-2) walked one and struck out one in his complete game shutout.
Kaido and James had two hits each for the Eagles. Toth was 4-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI to lead the Storm offensively. Lindgren and Brayan Cacique had two hits and two RBI each.
The Eagles welcome Findlay on Saturday (April 28) to start AU's final home series of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. It will be Youth Day at Donges Field. Parents can pre-register their children for the event by calling AU director of marketing Rachel Bixler at 419.289.5954 or by emailing email@example.com.