OXFORD, Ohio – The Miami University baseball team kept grinding away after a slow start to pull out a series clinching 5-3 win over Toledo on Sunday.
MU (20-23, 10-8 Mid-American) made the most of its five hits while taking advantage of four UT (17-25, 8-10 MAC) to claim the weekend series two games to one.
The Rockets got on the board in the first when a dropped fly ball put Tyler Grogg at second base with one down. A single by Dan Zuchowski scored Grogg to make it 1-0 UT. The RedHawks took advantage of some Rocket miscues in the bottom of the frame to even the score. Steve Sada opened with a first pitch single through the hole and advanced to second on an error by left fielder Jake Krupa. With one away, Sada stole third base, but a strikeout kept him from advancing.
With two down, starter Kyle Stack fanned Gary Russo, but the catcher dropped the pitch and allowed Sada to score with Russo reaching first on a passed ball. Russo stole second to get into scoring position and a wild pitch moved him 90 feet away from home, but shortstop Deion Tansel made a nice play to surround Max Andresen’s groundball and end the inning.
The tie did not last long as John Martillotta cracked an RBI double off the left field wall with two down in the second. That hit scored Krupa, who walked with one away, from first to put Toledo ahead 2-1.
Ryan Elble drew a five-pitch walk and Dan Walsh was hit two batters later to put a pair of runners aboard in the bottom of the third. Slack wriggled out of trouble with a fly out and a strikeout to keep UT in front after three full innings.
After struggling most of the weekend, MU’s offense rallied in the bottom of the fourth. A dropped fly ball put Max Andresen on second to start out the frame and the catcher moved to third on John Crummy’s sacrifice bunt. After a strikeout kept Andresen put, MU drew three-straight walks which came from Scott Slappey, Elble and Sada. The final free pass forced in Andresen to tie the score and chased Slack from the mound in favor of Steven Calhoun. Two pitches into his appearance, Dan Walsh pulled a single through the right side of the infield to plate Slappey and Elble, giving the RedHawks their first lead of the day at 4-2.
Miami’s defense came up big in the top of the sixth when Toledo put its first two runners aboard on a Ryan Callahan single and Tyler Baar walk. James Miglin singled through the hole into left, but Slappey fired a seed to home plate that cut down the lead runner. With one away, Jacob Britt hit a line drive that Sada made a diving catch on before having the presence of mind to throw over to second base and finish a double play lineout to end the threat with MU still ahead 4-2.
The RedHawks added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh. Chad Sedio led off the frame with a solid single up the middle and scored from first on Andresen’s hard-hit double off the right field wall to make it 5-2 after seven.
With two outs in the ninth, Martillotta dropped a double into center that scored Britt to cut the MU lead to 5-3. That hit brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Tansel at the top of the UT lineup. Zubrod battled over the first five pitches to get to a 3-2 count and Tansel popped the sixth offering high into foul territory near the Miami bullpen. The wind helped keep the ball just in play with Walsh camped out under it to clinch a series win for the RedHawks.
Powers (5-3) held the Rockets to two runs (one earned) over seven innings. The junior scattered seven hits and three walks while striking out three batters. Andresen finished with two of MU’s five hits while Walsh drove in two runs, including the game-winner on his two-run single in the fourth.
Miami resumes its home stand on Wednesday when it hosts Indiana. First pitch at McKie Field is at 6 p.m.