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RedHawks take two of three from rival Rockets

By Tom Downey
On April 28, 2014

Pitching and defense carried the Miami University baseball team past the University of Toledo in two of three games this weekend. The RedHawks defeated the Rockets 1-0 Friday in a pitchers' duel that went Miami's way. The 'Hawks lost 13-5 Saturday, but bounced back to take the Mid-American Conference series with a 5-3 victory Sunday.

Senior Seth Varner (6-2, 2.51 ERA) was nothing short of dominant Friday, striking out 12 batters in a complete game. He allowed just two walks and two hits. It was the first complete game for Varner as a RedHawk and the 12 strikeouts is a new career high. He was MAC East Pitcher of the Week for his performance.

"My stuff was working," Varner said. "Fastball was down, had some life on it. Change-up was working well, threw some good breaking balls, some good cutters. Overall, had everything working."

Toledo (17-25, 8-10 MAC) senior Ryan Wilkinson pitched a complete game as well, going 8 innings and allowing one earned run on seven hits.

That one run was all the RedHawks (20-23, 10-8) would need and it came courtesy of senior third baseman Dan Walsh, who drove in junior outfielder Scott Slappey for the game's only run.

"I'd love to see us score more than a run, but Seth only needed one today," manager Danny Hayden said. "And we'll take a win however we can get them."

The two teams combined for just nine hits.

Miami's bats stayed quiet in the second game, but Toledo came out swinging early and often. The Rockets pushed across 13 runs before Miami scored their first en route to a 13-5 victory.

Junior Nathan Williams (3-6, 6.68 ERA) had a rough outing, giving up eight earned runs on seven hits and two walks in just 2 2-3 innings. Freshman Brad Schwartz (1-4, 5.72 ERA) was not much better in relief, allowing five earned runs on four hits and two walks in 1 1-3 innings. Junior Ryan Haynes (2-0, 1.89 ERA) slowed the Rocket attack with 4 innings of scoreless, one hit baseball, but the damage was done.

Miami recorded nine hits in the game, with most of their damage coming late in the game. Four of the RedHawk runs came in the ninth inning, when the game was out of reach.

In the Sunday rubber match, Toledo outhit Miami nine to five, but the RedHawks defeated the Rockets 5-3. Only one of the runs Miami scored was earned, as several Rocket errors doomed Toledo.

"[We] got two out of three, that's good," Hayden said. "We'll still be a little frustrated that we had as bad of a showing as we did yesterday, but to come out and bounce back and play a good one today was important for us."

Senior Ryan Powers (5-3, 4.35 ERA) picked up the quality start and the win, going 7 innings with three strikeouts and two runs allowed (one earned) on seven hits and three walks. Senior Charles Zubrod (0-1, 7.43 ERA) picked up the six-out save, his fourth save of the season.

The defense was strong behind Powers and Zubrod, recording multiple double-plays to get the RedHawks out of a few jams.

Hayden credited Toledo for its pitcher performance, but said the RedHawk offense needs to do a better job.

"We have to go back to the drawing board a little bit, offensively after this weekend," Hayden said. "We have to get back to what we're good at. This weekend I think had probably our most sloppy at-bats that we've had this season, just in terms of what we're trying to do the pitcher and the pitches we're swinging ... We gotta get back to work offensively. We're too good of an offensive team for a weekend like this."

The RedHawks host Indiana University Wednesday, with first pitch set for 6 p.m. Fans can listen to the game on redhawkradio.com/sports/listen.


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