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2013-02-23 Improved pitching gives Tigers advantage in two wins over Mid-Continent
Jonathan Fightmaster

Junior Jonathan Fightmaster won his first game of the 2013 season in on Saturday in game two against Mid-Continent

Improved pitching gives Tigers advantage in two wins over Mid-Continent

Author: Nick Birkey
Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013 at 9:08 AM

MAYFIELD, Ky. — Two stellar pitching performances by senior Ben Heller (Whitewater, Wis.) and junior Jonathan Fightmaster (Bourbonnais, Ill.) helped the Tigers respond with two wins in their second weekend of play. ONU matched up against Mid-Continent University (Ky.) in a doubleheader on Saturday, February 23, after Friday’s game was cancelled due to bad weather. 

In Saturday’s games, the Tiger pitching staff only allowed 10 hits and two earned runs all day as Olivet claimed 9-2 and 2-1 victories.

Head Coach Todd Reid commented on Saturday’s performance: “The difference today was that our pitchers commanded the strike zone. We gave up two earned runs in the first inning of game one, and not another runner scored until the unearned run in the seventh inning of game two. It was a big improvement over last weekend, but we have a long way to go.”

In game one of the doubleheader, Heller (1-0) threw six innings, allowing two runs off six hits while striking out seven. Junior Steven Beckham (Mt. Vernon, Ill.) (1) threw the final three innings of shutout baseball, striking out three, recording his first save of the year. However, the game did not start off great for the Tiger (2-3) throwers as the Cougar (3-8) bats got going in the first inning with a Jordan Manney two-run home run. Yet, Heller settled down and didn’t give up another hit until the fifth inning, striking out four in the process.

Meanwhile, it took the ONU bats three innings to get hot. In the top of the third, the Tigers scored five runs to take a 5-2 lead. Senior Kevin Lasowski (Schererville, Ind.) singled with the bases loaded, scoring one. Freshman Jordan Hayes (St. Charles, Ill.) reached on a fielder’s choice to score a run. Senior Alex Cavender (Momence, Ill.) had an RBI, scoring Hayes. The Tigers scored a total of five runs off only two hits and two errors.

ONU scored another run in the seventh when Hayes drove home Lasowski. In the eighth, Ryan Kern (Bloomington, Ill.) doubled and brought home Dan Schneider (West Salem, Wis.) and Justin Fahy (Fargo, N.D.). Senior Matt Davenport (Swayze, Ind.) also brought in Adrian Perez (Chicago, Ill.) on a sacrifice fly.

Overall, Kern went 1-for-4 with two RBIs and one run. Hayes finished 1-for-4 with two RBIs and one run scored, and Lasowski was 1-for-5 with one RBI and one run. Schneider and Perez each scored two runs. Also, the Tigers stole nine bases in the game.

The Cougar starter was Blake Bladeraz (0-2), who went 2 1/3 innings and gave up four runs — one earned — and walked six. Jack Coleman and Todd Adams finished the game and gave up eight hits, allowing five runs — three earned — and walking four more.

Game two was a pitching battle as neither staff was willing to give in. ONU’s Jonathan Fightmaster (1-1) threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing only one unearned run off six hits. Kevin Lasowski (1) finished the game and forced two ground balls to end the game, recording a save for the Tigers. For the Cougars, Luke Deaton (1-2) went six innings and gave up both of the Tigers’ runs off eight hits, walking three. Michael Edwards threw the final inning, only allowing one hit.

The first inning was kind to the Tigers as Ryan Kern singled to score Perez and put Olivet up 1-0. Meanwhile, the Tigers were caught on the bases twice to end the inning. Neither team scored until the top of the fifth; however, there were seven hits and nine runners left on base between both teams. The Tigers had a golden opportunity in the second inning to stretch the lead with two outs and the bases loaded, but a ground out ended the inning. In the fifth, Matt Davenport singled with two on and scored Justin Fahy for the second run of the game.

ONU kept the shutout until the bottom of the seventh when Dylan Rasch reached on a fielder’s choice for the second out. Blake Vaughan advanced to third but was able to score on an error by Josh Altmann. The Tigers got the next batter out to end the game.

Kern went 2-for-4 with one RBI, and Aaron King (Pekin, Ill.) went 2-for-3.  

For the Cougars, Jay Singleton went 2-for-3, and four more players had one hit.  

The Tigers will begin their spring break trip with a doubleheader against Cornerstone University (Mich.) on Saturday, March 2, starting at 4 p.m. (EST).