13abc.com Joe Nugent, Sports Anchor/Reporter - email
In a season where timely hits seemed to be at a minimum, the University of Findlay baseball team flipped the script and used multiple opportune hits, including a walk-off single, to win the final game of their season. The 5-4 victory over Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) foe Northwood University finalized the Oilers record for the 2014 season at 12-31 overall and 9-24 in conference play.
After a stalemate in the first inning, Northwood struck in the second courtesy of a wind-aided home run from Tyler Beatty.
The Oilers answered in the bottom half of the inning when Derek Draper singled and later scored on a hit from Logan Harrah.
Findlay took the lead in the third when Reid Rothenbuhler, who would prove to be the hero in the contest, hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Kevin Schrock and putting the Oilers in front 2-1.
Not to be outdone, the Timberwolves plated a single run in the fourth and a pair of runs in the fifth to take the lead, 4-2. Northwood would then threaten in the seventh as they loaded the bases. With one out and the sacks full, Alex Williams replaced senior pitcher Drew Hargrove who was making the final start of his career. Williams forced a groundout to Draper who threw out the runner at home plate for the fielder's choice. Beatty, who hit the homerun earlier, then grounded out to Williams who flipped the ball to first, ending the threat.
The Oilers wasted no time tying up the game as they picked up single runs in the seventh and eighth.
In the seventh, Harrah, who reached on an error, was driven in from first base when Schrock laced a ball into the right field corner for a double.
A sacrifice fly from Sickler scored the run in the eighth as Draper crossed the dish, tying the game up at 4-4.
After stranding two Timberwolves in the top of the ninth, the Oilers were presented with a chance to end their season, and the careers of seven seniors, in appropriate fashion.
Michael Louis, in what would be the final at-bat of his career, smoked a double to left field to begin the inning. Schrock then laid down his team-leading 11th sacrifice bunt of the season sending Louis to third with just one out. In an attempt to induce a double play, Northwood skipper Joe Di Benedetto decided to walk Peter Yorgen and Jordan Garcia to load the bases for Rothenbuhler, the Oilers leading offensive threat. The senior designated hitter took four pitches, three balls and a strike, and was then given a pitch to hit, and hit he did. With a defensive shit that saw five Timberwolves players on the infield and just two in the outfield, Rothenbuhler laced the 3-1 pitch to dead center field, scoring fellow senior, Louis, and ending the game with a dog pile at first base.
Williams got the win out of the bullpen as he tossed 2.2 innings and did not allow a run on two hits. He struck out one.
Not overlooked in the contest was the effort of Hargrove who threw 6.1 innings and allowed just four runs, scattered 10 hits, walked three and struck out four in his final collegiate start.
Of the four seniors in the lineup, three ended their careers with hits, including the Rothenbuhler single to win the game.
Coach Steve Parrill ends his first season as skipper of the Oilers with a 12-31 record and will look to improve as he returns several key players and brings in a solid recruiting class.