UT’s baseball team began the 2018 campaign this past weekend in the Sunshine State Series Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla. The midnight blue and gold now stand at 2-2 on the season.
Iowa – Friday
UT opened the season against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Friday. The first two innings were scoreless until the Rockets hopped on the board with a pair of runs in the top of the third.
Dalton Bollinger, fourth-year infielder/catcher, hit a fly ball deep into right field. Iowa dropped it, giving John Servello, first-year outfielder/pitcher, and Ross Adolph, third-year outfielder, the opportunity to score, 2-0.
The Hawkeyes cut Toledo’s lead in half, 2-1, with a run in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single.
The Rockets responded with a run in the following inning, which put them up 3-1. Bollinger brought Adolph home on an RBI single.
Iowa wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. A Hawkeye home run came around in the bottom of the eighth to cut Toledo’s lead again, 3-2.
With bases loaded for the Hawkeyes i
n the bottom of the ninth, Iowa brought a pair of runs in for a walk-off win, 4-3, against the Rockets.
Michael Jacob, third-year left-handed pitcher, had a terrific first-career start. His game consisted of seven innings with seven strikeouts, allowing a run and a walk. Austin Calopietro, second-year right-handed pitcher, came in the eighth and Luke Schaefer, third-year right-handed pitcher, received a loss.
St. Louis – Saturday
Toledo took on the St. Louis Billikens in game one of a doubleheader.
Matt Hansen, fourth-year infielder, reached base and later scored on a wild pitch to Bollinger in the first inning, 1-0.
The Rockets kept the lead until the bottom of the sixth when St. Louis tied the game at 1.
Adolph responded the following inning with an RBI double to regain the lead for UT, 2-1.
In the ninth inning, the midnight blue and gold secured the victory with a pair of runs, 4-1, from Adolph and Bollinger. Toledo collected nine hits in the victory.
Layne Schnitz-Paxton, second-year right-handed pitcher, started the game. Schnitz-Paxton allowed a run and struck out four in 5.1 innings. Jake Stout collected the win and Nate Hough got the save; both are third-year right-handed pitchers.
Pittsburgh – Saturday
The Rockets were eager for a victory over an ACC school.
Pittsburgh took an early lead with a run in the first inning and continued full speed ahead. The Panthers went on to score the rest of their runs through the fifth, 17 total on 11 hits.
The Rockets got on the board in the third with a run coming from Zach Schwartzenberger, first-year outfielder, hitting his first collegiate home run.
Casey Gose, fourth-year infielder, hit a line drive double along the right field line to bring in a pair of runs.
Toledo would fall 17-3 to Pittsburgh on eight hits and four errors. Kyle Bischoff, first-year right-handed pitcher, started the game and five more pitchers relieved.
St. Louis – Sunday
UT looked to bounce back from the Pittsburgh loss the day before.
The Rockets got on the board in the first inning with a run, 1-0. Adolph walked and stole second. AJ Montoya, fourth-year outfielder/catcher, hit an RBI single, bringing Adolph home.
St. Louis came around in the fourth, scoring four runs on five hits to take the lead, 4-1.
Toledo matched those four runs an inning later. Riley Campbell, third-year infielder, hit an RBI single. Adolph smashed a three-run home run, bringing home Campbell and Hansen, to help the Rockets retake the lead, 5-4.
The Rockets added a couple of runs in the sixth. Montoya hit a pop up behind the shortstop; the ball was dropped, allowing Hansen and Campbell to score. Montoya finished the game batting 4-5 and collecting a handful of RBIs.
The Billikens snuck a run in the seventh to cut the Rocket lead to 7-5.
There was no stopping the Rockets in the eighth inning. Seven straight hitters reached base and added nine runs to lead St. Louis, 16-5. The Rockets finished the game with 17 hits and collected nine walks.
St. Louis responded with three runs, 16-8, but fell short of cutting Toledo’s lead even further.
Bryce Davis, first-year right-handed pitcher, made his collegiate debut and relieved starter Sam Shutes, fifth-year right-handed pitcher, in the sixth inning. Davis pitched three innings and only allowed one run. Shutes captured the victory.
The midnight blue and gold will travel to Clarksville, Tenn. next weekend to take on the Austin Peay Governors. Start times are 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 24 and 25.