March 23, 2013

Baseball Picks Up First Series Win of the Season Against Ball State

MUNCIE, Ind. – The University of Akron (4-17, 2-1 MAC) baseball team earned their first series win of the season on Saturday afternoon against Ball State University (11-10, 1-2 MAC) with a doubleheader sweep. UA picked up the win in the first game by a score of 7-4, which was followed up by a 4-3 victory in the second.

Freshman John Valek III started the first game at pitcher for UA, and picked up the win to improve his season record to 2-3. Valek tossed 6.0 innings with two strikeouts and one earned run allowed in the win.

Offensively, Akron benefitted from scoring multiple runs in three of the first five innings. Darius Washington kick-started the UA offense with an RBI single to right to bring in Brady Stewart from second. Gerrad Rohan followed up Washington by reaching first on a fielders choice, scoring Tyler Begun on the play.

The Zips tacked on another two runs in the fourth inning to increase their lead to 4-0. James Sheltrown and Rohan each drove in a run in the inning, as Sheltrown singled in a run and Rohan had a sac fly. Rohan has four RBI so far this season.

UA brought their lead to 7-0 by adding three more runs in the fifth inning, with five Akron players registering hits in the inning. Stewart, Begun and Washington each recorded RBI singles to end the Akron offensive in the first game. Washington went 2-for-4 in Sunday's first game, recording his first hits and RBI of the season.

Sophomore Matt LaRocca worked the ninth for 0.2 innings with one strikeout. LaRocca has struck out at least a batter an inning going into the Ball State series.

Game two of the doubleheader against Ball State featured sophomore southpaw Pat Dyer on the mound. Dyer – making his fourth start of the season – pitched 6.0 innings with one earned run and two walks allowed. The native of Columbus, Ohio was given a no-decision in the victory.

Andrew Fanning, Samuel Trecaso, and LaRocca worked out of the bullpen for the Zips in game two. Trecaso picked up with win to improve his record to 1-1, while pitching one inning with one strikeout. LaRocca earned his second save of the game, working one inning in the ninth with one strikeout.

"Our effort today was much better than yesterday, which resulted in better results," said Head Coach Rick Rembielak. "Valek and Dyer gave us great outings. The efforts LaRocca and Fanning gave today coming in both games were tremendous." 

LaRocca started the Akron attack in the 4-3 win over Ball State on Saturday. The native of Stony Brook, N.Y., registered a single in the first inning to score Devan Ahart.

Bryan White roped an RBI double in the second inning to right field to bring in Tyler Begun from third. The offensive output continued in the second with an RBI single up the middle by Rembielak, bringing in White.

Akron overcame a late Ball State rally, which tied the game in the seventh inning. The game sat at a 3-3 tie until the ninth inning when Ahart ripped a single to center to score Jared Turocy, the winning run of the game.

"Ahart's last at-bat of the day was his most important after struggling in all the games," Rembielak said. "Winning a road series is huge for us. A good feeling for our ballclub."

Akron's next schedule game is a midweek game, which is set to take place at the University of Dayton at 3 p.m., on Wednesday. Live stats and a video stream will be available through the Akron baseball schedule page.