DURHAM, N.C. – The University of Akron (1-2) baseball team opened the Duke Baseball Classic with a 2-1 victory over Saint Louis (1-3) on Friday night.
Sophomore John Valek III provided 5.0 scoreless innings pitched with one earned run allowed against Saint Louis. Valek improved his record to 1-0 and tossed five strikeouts.
"Valek gave us a great start. He kept the hitters off balance with his change up and they couldn't square up the ball on him," head coach Rick Rembielak said.
Despite a scoreless inning from both sides in the first, the Zips broke through in the bottom half of the second. Junior Joey Havrilak reached base on an error, and was brought in on an RBI double to right by Matt LaRocca, to give UA a 1-0 advantage.
Sophomore reliever Zach Beaver provided 2.2 innings of relief and allowed one earned run with one strikeout in the performance. He was second on the squad with 25 appearances in 2013.
Overall, the Akron offense registered four hits, one apiece for Sheltrown, Brady Stewart, LaRocca and Meeker, on the opening day of the Duke Baseball Classic. LaRocca earned his first save of the season following 1.1 innings and three strikeouts to end the game.
"This was a good team we faced, and a pitcher who threw a fine game. LaRocca came through with a huge RBI double after they dropped a pop up which extended our inning," Rembielak said. "He also closed the door on them coming in with two outs in the eighth, and competed thru the ninth."
Akron will be back in action tomorrow with a pair of games against La Salle, beginning with a 1 p.m., matchup at the USA Baseball Complex. The teams will matchup later Saturday at 6 p.m. in Wilson, N.C.