CARY, N.C. – The University of Akron (2-2) baseball team defeated La Salle University by a final score of 7-1 on Saturday afternoon at the USA Baseball Complex, Akron's second straight win as part of the Duke Baseball Classic.
Junior Pat Dyer provided a masterful 6.0 innings pitched with just three hits and one earned run allowed in his first start of the 2014 season. The native of Columbus, Ohio improved to 1-0 this season while also striking out two batters.
Dyer received some immediate support from the Akron lineup, as the team took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Senior James Sheltrown recorded the games first hit with a single to left, and was able to move over to third on a fielding error by the Explorers third baseman. Senior Brady Stewart then drove in Sheltrown on an RBI groundout to second, his second RBI of the season.
The Zips took a 2-0 lead in the fourth after a wild pitch by La Salle's pitcher that allowed Stewart to come in from third. The Explorers tacked on their lone run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, before Akron broke the game open with a four-run rally in the sixth.
Junior Devan Ahart led off the sixth with a single. Ahart advanced to second on a Stewart groundout, before swiping his second stolen base of the season to reach third base. Senior Grant Alvarez hit an RBI single to bring in Ahart to make it a 3-1 game.
Joey Havrilak followed with a single to right to put two runners on base. Freshman James Meeker III notched a clutch two-run single up the middle to bring the game to 5-1. Meeker was then driven in by junior Matt Rembielak, who went 3-for-3 in the win, to complete the rally and increase the Zips lead to 6-1.
Matt LaRocca added some insurance with a solo home run in the eighth inning, bringing the game to its final score of 7-1. LaRocca's homer was his second of the season, and fourth of his career at UA.
Akron's bullpen was strong following Dyer's exit, allowing zero runs over three innings. Freshman Masashi Sakamoto, sophomore Daulton Mosbarger and freshman Evan Jensen combined for two hits allowed and three strikeouts to close out the game.
Overall, the Akron offense registered 11 base hits, two walks and six RBI. Alvarez and Rembielak shared the team lead with three hits apiece, while Meeker finished the game with a team-high two RBI. In all, seven different Zips recorded base hits on Saturday afternoon.
The Zips will play the Explorers one more time this evening in Wilson, N.C., at Fleming Stadium, apart from the Duke Baseball Classic, before wrapping up the weekend at 1 p.m., on Sunday vs. Duke.