YPSILANTI, Mich. – Seth Varner logged 7.2 innings of shutout ball to lead the Miami University baseball team to a 3-1 win at Eastern Michigan on Friday night.
The RedHawks have won their last three games and are now 16-20 overall with a 6-7 mark in the Mid-American Conference.
“Seth did a great job tonight,” Miami head coach Danny Hayden said. “He actually got into some trouble, but did a great job not letting anyone touch home.”
After a scoreless first inning, MU got on the board in the top of the second. Matt Honchel worked a seven-pitch walk with two outs and stole second to move into scoring position. Ryan Elble brought him the rest of the way when he drilled a 2-2 pitch to left for an RBI double to put the Red and White ahead 1-0.
The Eagles led off the bottom of the third with a double by Austin Wilson, but Varner got the next three outs on a strikeout, foul out and ground out to keep the RedHawks on top. EMU threatened again in the fourth as John Rubino and Lee Longo led off the frame with singles. Varner danced out of trouble again by catching a popped up bunt and struck out the next two batters to maintain MU’s one-run lead.
Miami added some breathing room in the fifth. Jake Romano doubled with one away and Dan Walsh pulled a double of his own to right center two batters later to make it a 2-0 ballgame. Eastern Michigan threatened again in the bottom of the frame, loading the bases on a single, a hit batter and a Miami error with two away. Undeterred, Varner induced a fielder’s choice ground out to end the inning and keep the Red and White in front.
The RedHawks manufactured another run in the top of the sixth when Gary Russo led off with a single and a steal. The sophomore came around to score on Scott Slappey’s RBI single to left, moving Miami up by three runs.
Once again, the Eagles threatened to get back into the game when Adam Sonabend walked and Michael Mioduszewski singled to start the bottom of the sixth. The RedHawks’ senior lefty once again got out of the jam, retiring the next three batters on a foul out, fly out and fielder’s choice. Varner worked a 1-2-3 seventh and started the eighth by forcing a groundout. With one away, Sonabend doubled, though Varner retired Mioduszewski on a fly out, which ended his evening. Brad Schwartz came out of the pen and ended the frame by forcing a pop out.
Charles Zubrod came on in the ninth to close things out, though EMU would not go down quietly. Three of the first four batters singled, with Sam Ott’s RBI single to center getting the Eagles on the board at 3-1. With the tying runs on base, Zubrod zoned in and induced a fly out from Rubino before fanning Longo on three pitches to put the RedHawks into the win column.
Varner improved to 5-2 this season by scattering seven hits in 7.2 scoreless innings. He walked two batters and struck out five. Zubrod picked up his third save of the season by getting the final three outs in the ninth. Miami’s 2-4 hitters (Walsh, Chad Sedio and Russo) all posted multi-hit games with each going 2-for-4.
“Dan and Chad are as locked in as you can get,” Hayden said. “Offensively we had a decent offensive day, but didn’t get a lot of runs. A lot of guys hit the ball well, but didn’t get results.”
The RedHawks and Eagles play again on Saturday with first pitch slated for 3 p.m.