OXFORD, Ohio – On two occasions, the Miami University baseball team fought back from a deficit during its final at-bat, but the RedHawks still dropped an epic 7-5 14-inning decision to Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s result drops MU to 18-22 this season as it tied a school record for the longest game in program history. The RedHawks previously played 14-inning games on April 23, 1963 (a 2-1 loss to Indiana Central) and March 20, 2007 (a 4-2 loss to Indiana State).
The Red and White put a runner at second base in each of the first two innings, but were unable to cash in. Chad Sedio was hit by a pitch and Gary Russo singled with two away, but Chris Cervantes eluded the first inning jam by inducing a fly out. In the second, John Crummy beat out an infield hit and moved to second on a throwing error to start the frame, but the next three batters were retired to keep it scoreless after two full innings.
Miami did get on the board in the bottom of the third when Sedio’s single up the middle scored Steve Sada from third base with one down. Sedio eventually moved to third with two away, but Cervantes avoided further trouble by striking out the final batter.
Charlie Suich retired the first nine batters he faced, but gave up a leadoff single to start the fourth. The junior got the next three hitters on a pair of fly outs and a strikeout. Miami put runners at first and third with one out in the bottom of the frame, looking to extend the lead. An attempted squeeze bunt by Jacob Wolf was put down, but the runner was unable to move up from third base and Cervantes escaped the inning unscathed.
The Colonels posted four singles and scored three times in the fifth to take the lead. Doug Teegarden’s two-run single put EKU on the board and Kyle Nowlin’s RBI single two batters later put Eastern Kentucky ahead 3-1.
Miami put the tying runs on base in the bottom of the fifth when Russo drew a walk and Max Andresen got hit by a pitch with two outs, but Cervantes ended the threat with a ground ball out.
The RedHawks got back on track in the seventh. Dan Walsh led off the frame with a single and Gary Russo drilled an RBI double to left and eventually came around on John Crummy’s RBI single with two down.
With the score tied, EKU put runners at first and third with one away. It appeared Wynston McMartin got the double play ball he needed, but the throw on the turn was wide and allowed Nowlin to score and put the Colonels back in front at 4-3.
Miami would not go quietly into the ninth. Walsh began the frame with a walk and was bunted into scoring position by Sedio. An EKU error put the winning run on with one away and brought up Andresen. The junior hit a hard ground ball to the right that took a giant hop for an infield hit that scored pinch runner Reed Schlesner to tie the game at 4-4 and send the contest into extra innings.
Neither team was able to score despite a couple scoring threats over the next three innings. The RedHawks put two aboard with one out in the 10th on walks by Scott Slappey and Ryan Elble for their top scoring threat, but they were unable to move either runner any further.
EKU took the lead in the top of the 13th when Shea Sullivan blooped an RBI single down the right field line to put MU down 5-4. The Red and White continued to show resilience in the bottom of the frame with Elble leading off with a double. With two away, Sedio was intentionally walked to bring up freshman Ryan Miller, who entered the game as a pinch runner in the ninth. With a 3-1 count, Miller stroked a game-tying RBI single to right center that was cut off just before splitting the gap. Sedio scored and the winning run moved to third, but Cody Creamer kept him from scoring by inducing an inning-ending groundout.
With MU out of available pitchers, catcher Tommy Ricciardi came out to pitch the 14th. A leadoff walk by Sam hagen put the go ahead run on base. Ricciardi struck out the next batter, but Hagen stole second and moved up an extra 90 feet on a throwing error. After a walk, Kenny Hostrander’s RBI single put the Colonels back in front and Teegarden’s sacrifice fly put the RedHawks down 7-5 going to the bottom of the inning.
Crummy started the frame with a hard-earned walk, bringing the tying run to the plate. However, a foul out kept the senior from advancing and Matt Honchel’s solid swing to left field found Taylor Blair’s glove. Ben Gullo proceeded to end the game by striking out the final batter he faced.
Ricciardi (0-1) took the loss in the catcher’s first-collegiate pitching appearance, though he struck out two of the batters he faced. He was one of six pitchers Miami used. Three RedHawks posted multi-hit games with Russo going 2-for-4 with an RBI, Crummy finishing 3-for-6 and Honchel going 3-for-6. Miami finished the game with 14 hits, but stranded 16 runners.
Miami returns to Mid-American Conference play on Friday when it starts a three-game set against Toledo. First pitch is at 6 p.m.