April 24, 2004
OXFORD, Ohio - Saturday afternoon's baseball game at McKie Field between Miami (24-12, 7-2 Mid-American Conference) and Akron (19-14, 6-4 MAC) was decided early on when sophomore Jon Franzese (Barrington, Ill./Barrington) blasted two home runs in his first two at-bats over the leftfield wall to give the Red and White an early lead that it would never relinquish. Franzese's two roundtrippers and eight runs in the first two innings were more than enough for the RedHawks to cruise to an 11-6 league victory.
Akron southpaw Pat Watt had a rough start when he allowed a lead off walk to sophomore Jason Brown (Fairfield, Ohio/Fairfield), and then let junior John Slone (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) extend his hitting streak to 13 games with a single to left-center field. Brown stole third to put men at the corners for junior Mike Ferris (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain), but Watt managed to strike out the RedHawk slugger for the second out. This, however, brought Franzese to the plate who ripped a 2-1 fastball over the leftfield foul pole for his fourth home run of the season.
Already with a 3-0 lead thanks to Franzese's home run, the RedHawks utilized another Franzese bomb in the bottom of the second inning to take an 8-0 lead. An RBI double by Brown scored the first run of the frame for Miami, and then a wild pitch by Watt allowed Slone to cross the plate. In similar fashion to his first at-bat, Franzese took a 2-2 fastball deep over the leftfield wall to score himself and Ferris, as well as give Miami an eight run advantage.
Freshman starter Jeff Day (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota East) worked with his early lead and flew through the first three innings before running into some trouble in the fourth. Four straight singles and five of the first six Zips' batters recorded singles in the frame to score two runs and cut the gap to six, 8-2. Marcus Geiselman landed a tough blow when he knocked a two-run double with the bases loaded to cut into Miami's lead even more, 8-4. Day, however, recorded two strikeouts in the frame to prevent any further damage.
The Zips came after Day again in the sixth inning when Tony Maccani drew a leadoff walk to force action by the Miami bench. Junior righty Brad Bachman (Harrison, Ohio/Harrison) stepped to the mound to relieve Day and recorded one out before Geiselman hit his second double of the afternoon for the Zips. Maccani scored on a routine ground out to the second base, charged to Day, and then Geiselman crossed the plate on a throwing error by the Miami shortstop.
With the lead now only two runs, 8-6, the Red and White charged back when Brown and Slone led off the bottom of the sixth frame with back-to-back singles. The Zips intentionally walked Ferris to get to Franzese who, despite grounding out into a double play, paved the way to the dish for Brown. Slone scored the RedHawk's 10th run of the game, 10-6, on an RBI bunt single by junior Brian Canada (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern).
The RedHawks tacked on another run in the bottom of the seventh inning to build a five-run lead, 11-6. Freshman Brandon Hillier (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) led off with a triple and scored two at-bats later on a sacrifice bunt.
Slone recorded a career-high five hits in the game by going 5-for-5 from the plate with three runs scored. All five of Slone's hits were singles.
The RedHawks wrap up the series against Akron tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. The game was originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. start, but due to ominous weather forecasts the game has been moved up two hours.