The Hiram College baseball team fell twice to Otterbein University, 8-4 and 6-3, in a non-conference doubleheader to wrap-up its annual spring trip to the Gene Cusic Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla.
In the first game, Otterbein (5-1) scored early with four runs in the top of the first inning that included a two-run homerun and a two-RBI triple. Hiram (3-6) got one of the runs back in the bottom of the second on a RBI single by junior infielder Mark Leone (Boardman) to make the score 4-1. The Cardinals then took control with four unanswered runs scoring one in the third, two in the fourth and another run in the fifth to extend the margin to 8-1. The Terriers rounded out the scoring with a pair of runs in the sixth and a run in the seventh. The two runs in the sixth would come on a RBI-single by junior outfielder Jaren Bell (Rochester, N.Y./Brighton) and a defensive error and the run in the seventh came on a RBI-double by Leone. But the runs came a little too late as Otterbein claimed the 8-4 victory.
Hiram recorded eight hits in the game and was led by Leone who went three-of-four with two RBI. Junior infielder Ron DeAmicis (Austintown/Fitch) also recorded a multi-hit game going two-for-three and scored a run.
On the mound, junior Pat Rhodes (Girard) started the game and pitched four-and-a-third innings allowing eight runs on 12 hits and struck out four batters. Fellow junior Tanner Gilchrist (Ellwood City, Pa./Lincoln) came on to pitch the final two and two-thirds innings in relief and allowed no runs and just one hit while tallying two strikeouts.
In the nightcap, the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when Otterbein struck for two runs to grab a 2-0 lead. Hiram moved ahead on the scoreboard with a three-run top of the fifth on a two-RBI double by junior outfielder Jeff Segal (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) and a solo homerun by senior All-North Coast Athletic Conference infielder/pitcher Tim Calhoun(Canfield) later in the inning to make the score 3-2. The lead remained a run for Hiram until the sixth when Otterbein scored four times to regain the advantage, 6-3. Hiram led off the seventh with a single by Bell and later a double by senior All-NCAC infielder Jim Jaksa (Chesterland/West Geauga) put runners at second and third with only one out. But the Terriers recorded the final two outs on back-to-back at-bats giving the Cardinals the 6-3 victory and the two-game sweep.
Hiram out-hit Otterbein, 10-8, in game two and was led by Jaksa who finished three-of-four. Bell ended the game two-of-three to go along with a run scored and Leone turned in a two-for-four effort to round out the multi-hit performances.
Freshman Brandon Chesmar (Elyria/Amherst Steele) started at pitcher for Hiram and went five complete innings allowing two runs on five hits and had four strikeouts in a no-decision. Fellow freshman Clayton Torok (Kirtland) pitched a third of an inning giving up three runs on two hits. Calhoun came on to pitch the final two-thirds, but would be credited with the loss, dropping him to 0-1 for the season after allowing one run on one hit, but struck out two hitters.
Hiram will return north and is scheduled to play a single nine-inning game against John Carroll University on Wednesday, Mar 19 at Cene Park in Struthers, Ohio. The first pitch is slated for 5 p.m.