March 20, 2012

Akron and West Virginia Split Tuesday Doubleheader

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The University of Akron baseball team split a doubleheader at West Virginia on Tuesday. Akron won the opener, 8-2, before falling in the second game, 12-7.

The split moves Akron to 6-13 on the year, while West Virginia is now 11-12.

"We really pounded the strike zone and worked ahead of hitters in today's first game," first-year Akron coach Rick Rembielak said. "That led to us allowing just the five hits. In the second game, we failed to do get ahead of batters and that was really the big difference between the two games. We swung the bat pretty well in both games and that was good to see, but we need to make sure we are not taking one step forward and then one step back."

Akron will host Ball State (3-12) on Friday at 3 p.m. in its home and Mid-American Conference opener at Canal Park. The two teams will finish the weekend series with 1 p.m. games at Canal Park on Saturday and Sunday.

Game 1 Recap

Akron got a solid pitching performance and pounded out 13 hits to take an 8-2, 7-inning win in Tuesday's first game.

Senior Scott Foster (1-2) threw 5.0 innings, allowing just two runs on four hits to earn his first win of the season. Redshirt freshmen Andrew Fanning finished the game, allowing just 1 hit in 2.0 innings.

Tyler Begun and Darius Washington led UA's 13-hit attack. Begun went 2-for-3, drove in three and hit his club-high third home run of the season, while Washington recorded a pair of doubles and two RBIs. Begun, Kurt Gamby, and Matt Rembielak scored two runs each.

Max Nogay accounted for the Mountaineer runs with his two-run homer in the fifth. Akron handed WVU starter Dan Dierdoff (3-1) his first loss of the season. Dierdoff allowed seven runs in 5.2 innings.

Begun opened up a scoreless game with his two-run homer in the top of the third. The shot drove in Rembielak, who had doubled.

The Zips extended its lead with another crooked number in the fourth. Samuel Trecaso doubled to start the frame and came home on Gamby's single one batter later. After two more UA hits, Washington stroked the first of his two doubles to bring home two more Akron runs.

Nogay's homer in the fifth made it a 5-2 game. That was as close as Foster and Fanning would allow the Mountaineers to get and back-to-back RBI doubles by Begun and Sam Watkins extended the Akron lead back to 5, 7-2, in the sixth.

Sophomore Brandon Winter drove in Akron's eighth and final run, singling home Gamby in the seventh.

Game 2 Recap

Akron and West Virginia combined for 17 runs and 29 hits in game two of Tuesday's doubleheader, a 12-7 WVU win.

Akron was hurt by leaving 14 men on base, including eight in scoring position, as the WVU pitching staff was able to prevent UA from having a big inning.

Sophomore Darius Washington batted 3-for-4, with two runs and an RBI in the game for Akron. Classmate Tyler Begun went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored. Freshman Matt Gebacz (0-2) was given the loss, allowing four runs in a 3.1-inning start.

Matt Frazer had four hits for WVU, while Bobby Boyd and John Polonius each had a pair of hits and three RBI. Josh Harlow threw 4.0 innings in relief and allowed three runs to collect the win.

Akron had an early 2-0 lead thanks to runs in both the first and second innings. Sam Watkins followed a Begun single with a double to center to put runners on second and third with one out in the first. Begun would then score on a Trecaso RBI groundout. Three singles produced UA's run in the second. Brady Stewart and Dan Burant both singled to start the inning and Stewart then scored on Matt Rembielak's base hit to left center.

The innings could have been bigger for Akron, however, as the Zips stranded a runner on third in the first and hit into a double play with two on in the second.

The Mountaineers took advantage of back-to-back one-out walks in the third to grab their first lead of the day. Gebacz issued free passes to Alan Filauro and Brady Wilson and Polonius drove them in with a two-out home run to left center.

A lead-off double by Frazer and a sacrifice bunt forced Gebacz from the mound in the fourth. Pen Nakazato then scored Frazer on a single off Jason McPeek through the left side to give WVU a two-run cushion, 4-2.

Akron missed an opportunity to enlarge the run column in the fifth, but left the bases loaded.

WVU added two more runs to its lead in the bottom of the fifth. McPeek walked Polonius to start the inning. A double by Frazer and back-to-back singles through the left side then pushed home two runs and forced McPeek from the game. Danny Fawcett would strick out Nate Antone and Billy Fleming was caught stealing at third to end the threat.

UA got within two runs in the sixth, using four singles and a sacrifice bunt to score a pair of runs. Begun and Watkins both recorded RBI singles in the inning before WVU was able to get out of the inning, stranding two UA baserunners.

The Mountaineers were able to continue to build on their lead, scoring three in both the sixth and seventh.

"Our bullpen guys did not come in and shut the door," Rembielak said. "They were not the dominant force that we need them to be."

Washington added another Akron tally in the seventh when his RBI single scored Gamby, who had doubled to begin the inning. A bases loaded error in the ninth allowed two more UA runs to score.