RICHMOND, Ky. – Scott Gunn hit a two-run go-ahead home run in the top of the seventh to lead the Akron Zips to 8-6 victory over the Eastern Kentucky baseball team Saturday afternoon at Turkey Hughes Field. The Zips also took the first game, 7-0, despite a 3-for-3 performance from senior Tony Wells. The Colonels fall to 5-3 while the Zips improve to 4-1. The teams will conclude the three-game series on Sunday at Turkey Hughes Field. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.
Eastern had rallied to tie the score at six in the fifth inning on an RBI single from freshman Aaron Barrows and an RBI groundout from senior Shawn Flora. But Akron reliever Patrick Gliha struck out junior Tyler Barnett with runners on second and third to end the threat.
Sophomore Eric Hash got the first two hitters in the seventh, but Phil Bednar walked to bring up Gunn who knocked Hash’s second pitch over the right field fence. Gliha allowed a two-out walk to Barrows but got Flora to strike out to give the Zips the sweep.
Akron jumped on top with a run in the first on a wild pitch from EKU starter McKenzie Willoughby allowing Kurt Davidson to score. The Zips tacked on two more in the third on a Charlie Lenhard RBI single and a passed ball with the bases loaded.
The Colonels rallied though with three runs in the third. Eastern put runners on first and second with none out, bringing up Flora who bunted down the third-base line. Akron third baseman fielded the ball cleanly but then threw wide of first, allowing a run to score and putting runners on second and third. Barnett brought EKU to within one with a sacrifice fly to center. Wells then walked and junior Joe Oliver followed with an RBI single, chasing Wells to third. But Akron starter Frank Turocy recovered and got sophomores Matt Davis and Dylan McMaine to strike out to end the inning.
Eastern took the lead with a run in the fourth, after an hour and twenty minute delay due to weather. The Colonels loaded the bases with none out, but Zip reliever Jared Patterson got the next two batters to strike out before hitting Wells to give EKU a 4-3 lead. But Oliver then flied to center to end the inning. The Zips took the lead back in the fifth on a three-run home run from John Turk.
Hash took the loss for Eastern who get two hits each from Barrows, Krailler and Davis. Gliha went 2.2 innings to pick the victory for Akron.
The Zips scored first in the opening game as well, taking a 1-0 lead in the fourth off EKU starter Christian Friedrich on a Davidson lead off home run. Akron tacked on another run in the fifth on an RBI single from Gunn.
Akron took control with two more runs in the sixth. The Zips put runners on first and second with two outs, brining up Kevin Haas who singled up the middle to make it 3-0. Freshman Jim Clancy then relieved Friedrich and Phil Bednar greeted him with an RBI single. Clancy got Gunn on fly out to left to end the inning.
Bill McKinney picked up the victory for the Zips, going the distance as the Colonels managed just six hits. Friedrich took the loss, striking out five in 5.2 innings.