Sandusky, Ohio – Nine Guys Named Joe became 8 Position Players and a Pitcher on Wednesday as Delta traveled to Sandusky, Ohio to play Region XII opponent Lorain County in the first two games of the four-game series. They did so with just twelve players, however, as most of their roster was left behind to take final exams. With just eight position players available, Delta employed pitchers as their ninth batter in each contest and ended up splitting the contests, winning game one 10-4 but dropping the nightcap, 4-3 in eight innings.
The loss drops their regional record to 3-3 and eliminates any chance of catching first place Schoolcraft for the number one seed and first round bye of the regional tournament.
"It's disappointing. We're all disappointed (about the loss)," said head coach Danny Smith. "But you can't give lip service to academics. You either mean it or you don't and at Delta College academics will always trump athletics. We believe in academics first and to try to bypass that stance to win a baseball game is never going to happen as long as I'm the head coach."
The "Original" Joe, Joe Tany, took the hill for Delta and threw a seven inning complete game to collect the win and up his season record to 2-1. He gave up four earned run on nine hits while striking out five. Delta scored two runs in the first inning as Kane Bourbina doubled to score Mitch Morley before eventually scoring himself on a Devin Sempert sacrifice fly.
With the score 2-2 in the fourth, Randy Rangel laced a double to the gap in left before scoring on a Brandon Bakos single to make it 3-2 Delta. Morley would single to lead off the fifth and steal second before scoring on a Sempert single to make it 4-2, with Sempert and Dylan Steinke both scoring later in the inning on a Lucas Sella single to up the score to 6-2.
Bakos led off the fifth inning with his first collegiate homerun – one of his three hits in the contest – and Delta would add three more over the next two innings to finish the game off. Morley, Rangel and Bourbina would each finish with two hits to help the 14-hit offensive attack of the Pioneers.
In game two, Delta took a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning by scoring two runs as Sempert singled home Morley to break up a 1-1 tie and then came around to score later in the frame on a Randy Rangel hit. Despite Robin VanOrden's pitching performance – three hits through six innings with seven strikeouts – the game was far from over, however.
After Lorain led off the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles, a bunt moved the runners to second and third for the first out of the inning. Another bunt was then misplayed and when the ball sailed in to right field, Lorain had tied the game and had the game winning runner at second base. A single to center field looked to end it in walk-off fashion but Cam Fowler hosed the runner at the plate and VanOrden induced a grounder to move in to extra innings tied at 3-3.
Delta got runners to first and third with two outs but a pop out ended the inning. Lorain led off the bottom of the eighth with a double before a bunt single put runners at first and third with no outs. A strikeout and pop out followed, but a botched rundown on a double steal gave Lorain the victory, 4-3.
The Pioneers were led on offense by Randy Rangel and Dylan Steinke, each with two hits. VanOrden suffered the loss, dropping his record on the year to 2-2. DC now travels to Jackson to finish the series with the Jets tomorrow before heading to Mott on Friday for the first of four games with the Bears. A double-header at home against Mott will take place on Saturday and on Sunday Delta hosts Lorain in a double-header to finish off the season series with the Commodores.