The University of Findlay baseball team concluded its three-game series with Malone University on Saturday, March 22nd at Mount Vernon Nazerene University in Mount Vernon, Ohio with a gut-wrenching 9-8 loss. The defeat dropped the Oilers to 3-10 on the season and 0-3 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).
Malone jumped out to an early lead as the combination of a leadoff double and two-out base hit scored a run in the top of the first inning off Findlay starter Derek Draper.
An inning an a half later, the Oilers would answer with two runs of their own to take the lead 2-1. The bottom of the second began with an Austin Adams single to right and sac bunt, moving Adams to second. He made it to third base courtesy of a passed ball and then he and Logan Harrah, who walked, came around to score on a Dylan Cintula double.
The lead did not last long as the Pioneers struck back with vengeance. A hit-by-pitch and five hits were the story as Malone pushed five runs across the plate putting them ahead 6-2 and ending Draper's day on the mound.
In the bottom of the third, Jordan Garcia walked and advanced to third on a double by Joe Sickler. Garcia then scored on a sac fly from Reid Rothenbuhler. Following a strikeout, Kevin Schrock, who had a pair of hits on the day, rolled a groundball through the middle for an RBI single that made the score 6-4.
The Oilers offense remained relatively quiet until the seventh inning, which they entered facing a 9-4 deficit. With one out, Garcia laced a single to left field and was followed by a walk to Sickler. Rothenbuhler double to deep right center, scoring Garcia. Adams then sent a line drive to right that was caught, but scored Sickler. Chase Goulette then entered the game as a pinch hitter and singled to center, scoring Rothenbuhler and bringing the score to a more manageable 9-7 defecit.
The comeback was not complete until the bottom of the ninth where the Oilers were a hit away from their first GLIAC win of the season. SIckler led off with a walk and was followed by a pop up and line out. With two outs, Schrock collected his second hit of the day, advancing Sickler to third. Enter Nick Antonides who came in as a pinch hitter. The sophomore scored Sickler with a single to center field and put the winning run on first base. With runners on second and first, Malone closer, Branden Carey coaxed a pop up to second base, ending the game.
Jon Walker took the loss on the mound for the Oilers as he worked 3.1 innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits. He walked two and struck out one.
Schrock led the offense as he collected two hits on the day. Cintula collected a double and two RBI and Sickler scored three runs.
As a team, the Oilers scored eight runs on 10 hits and had three errors.
Findlay is back on the field this Wednesday, March 26 to begin a Wednesday/Thursday GLIAC series with Tiffin University in a rescheduled contest. Game 1 is set to begin at 1:00pm at the Marathon Diamonds in Findlay, OH.