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Rockets lose 5-4 in extra innings to Wright State

On April 19, 2012

The Rockets dropped a close one in Scott Park yesterday, falling to Wright State University 5-4.

Toledo (17-20, 6-6 Mid-American Conference) brought the game to extra innings but failed to respond to the Raiders in the 10th.

Wright State struck first in the third inning after junior starting pitcher Jared Locke balked a runner home with the bases loaded. Another Rocket mistake, this time a fielding error, allowed two more runs to score. The Raiders scored again on an RBI single before Locke finally stopped the bleeding.

“When you’re playing a good team, you really have to limit the freebies,” said UT head coach Cory Mee. “Today we didn’t do that and they took advantage of it.”

Toledo responded in the fourth inning after freshman third baseman Anthony Smith drove in two runs on an RBI single.

The Rockets were able to bring in two more runs in the fifth after a wild throw following a bunt from freshman left fielder Dan Zuchowski allowed one run to score. Later in the fifth, senior center fielder Ben Hammer tied the game at four with a sacrifice fly.

UT had a chance to take the lead in the sixth but failed to come up with a run. Freshman shortstop Nate Langhals doubled down the left field line but a perfect throw from Raiders left fielder Cody Simon forced Smith out at home to end the inning.

The Toledo bullpen was lights out through the next four innings, allowing only two hits with four strikeouts.

Freshman reliever Alec Schmenk pitched well in the sixth and seventh innings, allowing no hits and striking out three batters.

In the eighth inning, senior Lincoln Rassi took the mound and allowed only one hit. Freshman Andrew Marra came on in the ninth inning, where he too kept the Raiders scoreless.

After the Rockets failed to end the game in the bottom of the ninth, Wright State delivered the winning blow in the following inning.

In the top of the 10th, Marra balked, moving the runner on first into scoring position and giving the Raiders a chance to take the lead. Wright State’s Garrett Gray singled down the right field line, driving in the runner and giving the Raiders a 5-4 advantage.

Toledo failed to respond in the next half of the inning due to solid pitching from WSU relievers Jordan Marker and Michael Schum.

“You get in a close game and some of them are going to go your way and sometimes the ball is going to bounce the other way,” Mee said. “Today it didn’t go our way.”

Marker (5-1) grabbed the win with Marra taking the loss for UT, dropping his record to 1-1. Schum picked up his eighth save for the Raiders.

Smith led the Rockets, going 2 for 4 with two RBI. He was one of only five UT batters that finished the game with a hit.

“Our formula has always been to pitch well, play good defense and hit in the clutch,” Mee said. “We just couldn’t get enough good at bats together to get anything going.”

Toledo will return to the diamond this weekend on the road as they travel to DeKalb, Ill. to take on conference rival Northern Illinois in a three-game series starting at 3 p.m. on Friday.

 

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