Senior Kevin Lasowski recorded his fifth save in a win over Clearwater Christian on Saturday
LAKELAND, Fla. — The Olivet Nazarene University baseball team experienced déjà vu on Saturday as they found themselves across the diamond from the same two teams they met the day before. The Tigers split the two decisions, just like they had on Friday. In game one against Mt. Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio), the Tigers kept it close until the fifth inning when the Cougars broke it open with seven runs, eventually falling 8-3. Game two was a comeback effort by the Tigers as they rallied from a 4-2 deficit and scored five runs to win 9-4 over Clearwater Christian.
In the first of two games on Saturday for the Tigers (9-8), they got out to a 1-0 lead after the first inning. Ryan Kern (Bloomington, Ill.) hit a sacrifice fly to score Justin Fahy (Fargo, N.D.), who led off the inning with a single. Neither team scored again until the top of the fifth when the Cougars (5-0) exploded for seven runs off five hits. Mt. Vernon used two doubles and a home run to spawn the seven-run explosion. Jake Dickerson homered, and Joshua Leonard and Cory Brown connected on doubles. The Cougars tacked on another run in the sixth to give them an 8-1 lead. ONU tried to claw back with two runs in the sixth when Ryan Kern hit a two-run home run, but that was all the Tigers would get.
Kenny McCambridge (1-0) started for the Cougars and allowed only three runs — two earned — off four hits in a complete game performance. He struck out five batters.
Freshman Madison Foster (Indianapolis, Ind.) (1-2) started for the Tigers and went 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs off six hits. Parker Shelton (Columbus, Ind.) allowed two runs off three hits in 2 1/3 innings of work.
For the Cougars, Jake Dickerson finished with four RBIs and one run. Seth Eller had two hits and one run scored. Seven Cougars had one hit and scored at least one run.
The Tigers experienced more success in game two after they scored two runs in the top of the first. Matt Davenport (Swayzee, Ind.) took advantage of a double steal by Ryan Kern and Daniel Schneider (West Salem, Wis.) and singled to scored both. Defensively, the Tigers’ first inning was hitless, but they allowed two runs apiece in the second and third innings. In the second, Peter Liloia singled, scoring Caleb Jordan and Noel Thomas. In the third, a walk, error, passed ball, hit-by-pitch and fielder’s choice led to the Cougars third run when Joel Felten brought in Jefte Velez. Noel Thomas hit a sacrifice fly to score David Edwards and give Clearwater a 4-2 lead.
ONU settled down and used the deficit as motivation to score five runs of their own in the fourth. Stefan Sauder (Morton, Ill.) got things going when he doubled, scoring Kevin Lasowski (Schererville, Ind.) and Josh Altmann (Homer Glen, Ill.) after they both were hit-by-pitch. Fahy singled and Schneider tripled, bringing in runs. Adrian Perez (Chicago, Ill.) brought in the fifth run on a sacrifice fly. The Tigers tacked on two more insurance runs in the fifth and seventh.
Wade Irwin (0-1) started for Clearwater, going 3 1/3 innings and allowing six runs off five hits. Kyle Baitz finished the game, allowing three runs — two earned — off five hits.
Sophomore Ryan Archer (Moline, Ill.) (1-0) got his second start of the year and went four innings, allowing four runs — three earned — off our hits. Kevin Lasowski (5) recorded his fifth save after three innings of work, allowing three hits and striking out four.
The Tigers stole 12 bases in the game and only left one base runner stranded.
Schneider finished with three hits and two runs. Fahy had two hits, and Altmann had two RBIs. Altogether, six Tigers had hits, RBIs and seven scored runs.
ONU will finish play in Florida with a doubleheader against Avila University (Mo.) on Monday, March 11, starting at 10 a.m. (EST).