University of Southern Indiana Baseball opened the 2021 campaign with a 9-3 victory over Lake Erie College Friday evening at the USI Baseball Field. The Screaming Eagles start the year 1-0, while Lake Erie begins 0-1.
Lake Erie pushed the first run across the plate with a single tally in the second inning. The Storm would hold the 1-0 lead until the bottom of the fifth.
USI scored all of the runs it would need in the fifth inning off the bats of senior leftfielder Bryce Krizan and sophomore rightfielder Austin Moody. Krizan got the rally going by doubling in junior second baseman Ethan Hunter for the first run of the season for the Eagles and knot the game at 1-1.
After senior shortstop Kobe Stephens reached on an error that advanced Krizan to third, Moody tripled down the right field line to clear the bases and give USI a 3-1 advantage.
USI extended its lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh, plating a pair of runs off of RBI-walks by sophomore first baseman Lucas McNew and senior catcher Wyatt Daly. The eighth inning would see the Eagles seal the victory with four more tallies on two hits that extended the margin to 9-1.
The Storm scratched across a pair of runs in the top of the ninth before the Eagles closed out a 9-3 victory.
The Eagles had struggled at the plate to start the game as Lake Erie right-hander Ryan Middendorf limited USI to one hit and two base runners through the first four frames. Middendorf (0-1) also struck out nine of the first 15 batters and fanned 12 in the game before the Eagle bats came to life.
USI pitching would make the late offensive surge stand up for the victory. Senior right-hander Austin Gossman (1-0) picked up the win with six-strong inning, allowing one run on two hits, while striking out four.
USI senior right-hander Tyler Hagedorn finished the game for the Eagles to pick up his first save of season. Hagedorn was credited with the save after going the last three frames, allowing two runs on five hits. He also struck out four batters.
The Eagles and Storm continue the series Saturday with a 2 p.m. first pitch, while the series concludes Sunday at noon.