FLORENCE, Kentucky-- Mount St. Joseph welcomed the Wolverines of Grove City to UC Health Stadium for a double-header to kick off the 2018 campaign. The Lions would play two completely different games enroute to a sweep. Winning game one 8-0 and game two on a walk-off 8th inning base-hit by freshman Ryan Murray (Cincinnati, OH/Colerain), escaping with a 7-6 victory.
In game one the Lions would send ace Alex Wagner (West Chester, OH/Lakota West) to the mound. The big man would not disappoint, as he carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning. For the game Wagner would throw 6+ innings of 2-hit shutout baseball. For the game his stat line was 6.0 innings pitched, surrendering 2 hits, 1 walk and no runs will striking out 4 Grove City hitters.
Offensively the Lions would jump out of the gates quickly. Nate Hunter (Vevay, IN/Switzerland Co.) drove a one out single into right field to get the offense started. Hunter would immediately steal second base and Garret Hogan (Hamilton, OH/Hamilton) would follow that up with a single of his own. So with runners on first and third with one out, coach Newman would roll the dice. Hogan was given the steal sign as the Grove City catcher attempted to throw him out, Hunter broke for the plate and slid in for the Lions first run of the season. Luke Bowman (Harrison, OH/Harrison) would follow that up with a single up the middle to score Bowman, and the Lions would not look back. They added four runs in the bottom of the second inning, and two more in the sixth.
Roman Rothwell (Monroe, OH/Monroe) paced the offense with a 3-for-4 day, driving in two runs and scoring one of his own. Brandon Turner (Greenfield, IN/Mount Vernon) also had a big game at the plate going 2-for-3, while driving in two runs and scoring two runs.
In game two The Mount would send highly touted freshman Jason Fischer (Cincinnati, OH/Colerain) to the mound. Fischer would struggle a bit with his command early on but settled in to give the Lions a chance to win the game. All told he would throw 4.2 innings allowing 6 hits, and 4 earned runs, while striking out 6 Grove City batters. He would leave the game with an opportunity to get his first collegiate win, but the bullpen was unable to hold the lead. Wyatt Myers (Waynesville, OH/Waynesville) made his return in this one after more than a year since his last appearance. Myers has been recovering from an aggresive form of Thyroid Cancer which sidelined him for the entire 2017 season.
Grove City jumped out to an early lead in this one scoring four runs in the top of the second inning. The Lions would answer back with three in the bottom of the second. Hunter delivered an RBI base hit into centerfield, followed by a two out two run single by Darren Sackett (). They would go on to add three more in the bottom of the third inning. Tyrell Anderson (Cincinnati, OH/Western Hills) and Michael Carroll (Hamilton, OH/Ross) each delivered triples in the inning.
The Lions would hold the lead until the top of the 7th inning when Grove City would answer back with two runs to tie the score at six. The Lions would threaten to end the game in the bottom of the 7th but would fail to score. After holding the Wolverines scoreless in the top of the 8th, the Lions would walk-off in the bottom of the inning. They would load the bases in setting up the games pivotal moment. With the bases loaded and one out freshman Ryan Murray would step to the plate, and with the infield drawn in, he would rip a game winning base hit into right field.
Hogan got the win in relief throwing 1.1 innings of perfect baseball.
The Lions will welcome Otterbein into UC Health Stadium in Florence, KY on Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for a little after 6:00 PM. Tune into MSJsports.com for all of your Lions baseball coverage.