April 28, 2007
OXFORD, Ohio -- Junior Connor Graham struck out seven in 7.0 innings and junior Brandon Hillier extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a 2-for-4 effort as the Miami University baseball team (22-16; 10-5 MAC) handed the Bowling Green Falcons (17-24; 4-13 MAC) a 5-3 defeat Saturday at McKie Field at Hayden Park. Sophomore Jordan Petraitis also extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a fourth-inning single as Miami won its third straight game.
Graham (4-3) scattered seven hits in a quality start, with the only blemish a sixth-inning home run. Freshman Reece Asbury closed out the win by tossing 2.0 scoreless innings and retiring six of the seven batters he faced. In a balanced offensive effort, seven of Miami's nine starters notched hits, with Hillier (2-for-4) and junior Chris Niro (2-for-3) posting multi-hit games.
Following a 45-minute rain delay in the top of the third, Miami took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the inning on a RBI infield single from junior Evan Armitage. A two-out double from Niro, who laced a hanging breaking ball down the leftfield line, gave Miami its first base runner of the game. Armitage then followed with a high-chopper that was fielded by Bowling Green first baseman Brian Hangbers, and after Armitage won a foot race to first base, Niro scampered home all the way from second behind the play.
Three Miami runs in the bottom of the fourth extended the RedHawks' lead to 4-0. After back-to-back singles from sophomores Petraitis and Chris Nadeau to open the inning, sophomore Eric Darlage singled through the left side, driving in Petraitis for his 21st RBI of the season. Senior Jeff Carroll then moved Nadeau and Darlage into scoring position with a well-placed sacrifice bunt, and senior Dan Leonard followed with a two-RBI single though right side. Leonard went to the opposite field on a breaking ball, and his two-hopper snuck past Bowling Green's second baseman and plated both runners standing up.
A bases-loaded RBI walk from Darlage pushed Miami's edge to 5-0 in the bottom of the fifth. A Hillier single and back-to-back one-out walks loaded the bases before Darlage drew a five-pitch walk, forcing in Hillier from third. The walk led to a Bowling Green pitching change, and Falcon reliever Adam Gumpf avoided any further damage by inducing an inning-ending double play.
After Graham cruised through the first five innings, Bowling Green broke through in the sixth on a three-run home run from Hangbers. With one out and runners on the corners, Hangbers drove his sixth home run of the season to straightaway right field, cutting Miami's lead to 5-3.
The two teams played scoreless baseball for the final three innings, with Asbury earning his fourth save of the season in relief of Graham.
Miami plays the final game of its three-game set with Bowling Green tomorrow at 1 p.m. Randy Hollowell will have the call on MSNI, the Miami Sports Internet Channel, and the game will be available on GAMETRACKER.