Toledo capped off its regular season with a convincing 12-5 triumph over Eastern Michigan (24-29, 14-13 MAC) Saturday at pleasantly warm Scott Park.With the dominating win, the 2012 Mid-American Conference West Division Champion Rockets complete the sweep for a second consecutive weekend and improve to 30-25, 19-8 in the league.
UT will be the No. 2 seed in next week’s MAC Tournament in Avon, Ohio, and square off against No. 7 Miami in the first round Wednesday, May 23. The time for that contest will be announced soon.
Junior third baseman Wes White (3 for 4, 3 RBI) led the Rockets offensively in today’s regular-season finale with three hits and three RBI. Senior first baseman Mark Lapikas (2 for 4, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI) and senior designated hitter Jeff Cola (2 for 5, 2 runs scored, RBI) also posted two-hit outings as part of UT’s 12-hit attack. In addition, senior second baseman Joe Corfman collected his 53rd career double to tie Drew Hoisington (2005-08) for the most two-base hits in school history.
Junior right-handed pitcher Mike Hamann (3-5) picked up the win for the MAC West Division Champs, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts in five innings.
The Rockets wasted little time in jumping all over EMU starter Collin Taylor, scoring five runs in their opening at-bat. Toledo batted around in the frame and took advantage of three hits, one walk, one hit by pitch, one balk and one wild pitch to build an insurmountable cushion.
EMU countered with one run in the second inning on a solo homerun off the bat of Lee Longo to make the score 5-1.
The Eagles threatened to further cut into the deficit in each of the next two innings, putting runners on first and second base with only one out. Fortunately for the Rockets, Hamann made the necessary pitches in both innings to keep the visitors off the scoreboard and maintain their four-run lead.
Eastern Michigan stayed aggressive at the dish and benefitted from a pair of hits and two UT errors to close the gap to 5-3 in the top of the fifth inning. The first three EMU batters reached base against Hamann, with Brent Ohrman and Sam Ott collecting RBI.
With EMU turning the momentum its way over the last couple of innings, Toledo needed to change to flow of the game. The Rockets did just that in the bottom of the fifth and plated six runs on six hits to send EMU’s Taylor to the showers. Each of the first nine UT hitters reached base, and the first six touched home plate to blow the game open and make the score 11-3. Senior centerfielder Ben Hammer (1 for 2, run scored, RBI), freshman shortstop Nate Langhals (1 for 4, RBI), senior catcher A.J. DeMarco (0 for 3, RBI), Lapikas, Cola and White were each credited with RBI in the inning to put the game out of reach.
Eastern Michigan mustered a two-run single off the bat of Ohrman in the sixth inning, before UT manufactured a run on a RBI by White in the eighth to make final difference 12-5.
EMU’s Taylor (2-1) was tagged with the loss, yielding eight runs (six earned) on six hits with three strikeouts in four innings.
Tucker Rubino (3 for 5, 2 runs scored) paced the visitors with three hits, while Daniel Russell (2 for 3) and Ohrman (2 for 5, 3 RBI) had multi-hit efforts in a losing cause.