AKRON, Ohio – The University of Akron (8-24, 5-6 MAC) baseball team won the three game Mid-American Conference series against Ohio University (7-26, 3-8 MAC) by a score of 11-8 in 10 innings at Bob Wren Stadium on Saturday afternoon. This was the Zips second straight extra-inning victory and third overall extra-inning win this season.
Freshman John Valek III made his eighth start of the season, and lasted 5.2 innings on them mound with five earned runs, one walk and one strikeout. Valek was given a no-decision in the win.
"Another game where we hung in and continued to battle back," Head Coach Rick Rembielak said following the 11-8 win. "We had many good performances starting with Valek again. We gave him an early lead, and he settled in keeping the ball down in the zone and having good command of his changeup and curve."
The Zips offense started quickly once again, as the squad plated two runs in the top of the first. Kris Simonton led off the inning by reaching on an error, and then was driven in on a Devan Ahart double.
Matt LaRocca then drove in Ahart to give Akron back-to-back RBI doubles, which gave the Zips an early 2-0 lead over the Bobcats.
OU fought back for one run in the bottom half of the first inning, but Akron came back for another pair of runs in the third.
Ahart led off the third with a hit-by-pitch, which was followed by LaRocca's second double of the game to put runners on second and third base.
Senior Jared Turocy contributed his 10th RBI of the season on a single with LaRocca and Ahart on base to give Akron a 3-1 lead. Cale Giddings then drove in the fourth run of the game with a sac fly to right.
Akron tacked on another run in the top of the fifth and sixth innings, which gave the squad a 6-1 cushion heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.
Valek relinquished the Zips lead in the sixth inning, as the Bobcats' offense recorded five runs in the inning to tie the ballgame.
With the game knotted at six, Akron plated two runs in the eighth to take an 8-6 lead. A homerun by Joey Havrilak and an RBI single by Kris Simonton gave the Zips the advantage. Havrilak's homer was his second of the year.
Senior Samuel Trecaso came out the Zips bullpen for the second straight day, and gave up his first earned runs of the year in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game at eight.
Trecaso worked 3.0 innings pitched with two earned runs allowed and one strikeout. The senior from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio has now allowed only two earned runs in 20.1 innings of work this season.
The Zips offense rallied again in extra innings, as three Akron runs scored in the top of the 10th inning. Bryan White drew a bases loaded walk to take the lead at 9-8.
Havrilak then struck again with a two-RBI single through the right side to plate both Turocy and LaRocca. Havrilak finished the game with three base hits, three RBI, one stolen base and one run scored. He pushed his team-leading run total to 16 in the game.
Trecaso worked a scoreless bottom of the tenth to improve his record to 4-1 this season. He has the most wins on the Zips pitching staff.
Overall, the Akron offense registered 15 base hits, five walks and two stolen bases. Four different players – Simonton, Ahart, LaRocca and Stewart – registered two base hits.
"Our coaching staff will continue to stress the importance of us keeping our aggressiveness tomorrow," said Rick Rembielak following the extra-inning victory on Saturday.
Eight different UA batters recorded RBI in the 11-8 victory. Havrilak led the squad with three RBI, and was followed up by Giddings with two RBI.
"It seemed like every hitter in the lineup had at least one good or important at bat," Rembielak said Saturday. "Defensively, Matt Rembielak had two tough plays that really saved the game, with one of them coming in the five-run sixth inning when they came back and tied it."
Akron will look to complete the sweep over Ohio on Sunday at 1 p.m., in the series finale of the three game MAC series. Matt LaRocca will be making his first career start at pitcher for UA.