Toledo (15-22) will lace back up its cleats for a pair of mid-week games against Michigan State (20-17) on Tuesday, April 22 and Dayton (17-19) on Wednesday, April 23. Tomorrow’s non-league contest against the Spartans is slated for 3:05 p.m. at McLane Stadium in East Lansing, while Wednesday’s matchup versus the Flyers is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. at Scott Park.
The Rockets are coming off a weekend which saw them win two of three home games against Ohio. UT was victorious in the series opener and finale, 3-0 and 7-5, but dropped the middle matchup, 3-2 in 10 innings.
On the mound, Toledo posted a sensational 1.61 ERA with 20 punchouts. The Midnight Blue & Gold allowed only 2.3 runs per game (7) to take the series against the Bobcats for the fifth time on seven occasions under head coach Cory Mee.
Offensively, senior DH Jacob North hit a team-high .455 (5-for-11) and was followed closely by sophomore INF Deion Tansel with a .417 (5-for-12) mark.
Eleventh-year skipper Cory Mee has tentatively penciled in freshman LHP Steven Calhoun (1-2, 2.04 ERA, 35.1 IP, 26 H, 12 R, 8 ER, 14 BB, 44 K) as the starter on the bump against MSU and sophomore RHP Caleb Schillace (0-2, 5.16 ERA, 29.2 IP, 34 H, 21 R, 17 ER, 12 BB, 17 K) versus the Flyers.
Michigan State enters tomorrow’s matchup on the heels of getting swept in a three-game series at Indiana this past weekend. The Spartans possess a .262 batting average and have plated 154 runs (4.2 rpg) on 320 hits (8.6 hpg) in 37 games. They are led offensively by the quartet of junior INF/C Blaise Salter (48-for-139), junior OF/C Jimmy Pickens (42-for-127), junior OF Anthony Cheky (43-for-144) and sophomore OF Cam Gibson (42-for-141) with .345, .331, .299 and .298 averages, respectively.
On the mound, MSU has posted a miniscule 2.94 ERA?and opponents are batting .243 against them. Their pitchers have tallied 234 punchouts (6.3), while yielding 121 walks (3.3).
Last spring, UT suffered a tough 7-6 setback in 12 innings against Michigan State at McLane Stadium. The Rockets overcame an early 6-0 deficit to force extra frames, but they allowed the Spartans to register a sacrifice fly in the third extra inning and were dealt the setback.
Dayton, which lost two of three contests at Saint Joseph’s this past weekend, plays at Mid-American Conference member Miami on Tuesday before traveling to the ‘Glass City’ the following afternoon. The Flyers own a .263 batting average and have scored 198 runs (5.5 rpg) on 308 hits (8.6 hpg) in 36 games. UD is paced at the plate by the foursome of sophomore INF Robby Sunderman (53-for-140), junior INF A.J. Ryan (31-for-86), junior OF Alex Harris (38-for-117) and sophomore INF/OF Aaron Huesman (36-for-123) with .379, .360, .325 and .293 marks, respectively. On the mound, Dayton has a 6.19 ERA?and opponents are batting .297 against them. Their pitchers have registered 179 punchouts (5.0 spg), while yielding 149 free passes (4.1).
Earlier this spring, Toledo secured an 11-6 victory vs. Dayton under the lights at the Athletes in Action Sports Complex on March 19. UT put forth an outstanding effort at the dish and finished with 10 hits, to go along with six walks and two hit-by-pitches against six UD hurlers.
Offensively, freshman OF Jordan Kesson (3-for-5, RS, 2 RBI) and sophomore INF Tyler Baar (2-for-4, 2 RS, 2 RBI) paced Toledo’s attack with multi-hit efforts in the impressive road triumph. The Midnight Blue & Gold also utilized a stellar performance from junior INF Dan Zuchowski (1-for-2, 3 RS, 4 RBI, 2 BB) to post at least 10 runs for a second time this spring.
Following this week’s two non-league contests, the Rockets will travel to Oxford, OH for three games vs. Miami on Friday-Sunday, April 25-27 at McKie Field. Friday’s first pitch is slated for 6:00 p.m., Saturday’s will begin at 3:00 p.m. and Sunday’s finale will start at 1:00 p.m.