The Miami RedHawks’ baseball team (15-9, 4-2 MAC) seems to be repeating the same script, as it used two more walk-off hits to take two out of three games from the Toledo Rockets and earn another Mid-American Conference series victory.
Seven of the RedHawks’ 15 wins this season have now come in extra innings or walk-off fashion.
“I think our team gets excited when there’s adversity right now,” MU head coach Danny Hayden said after Friday’s game. “I think that’s kind of how they operate and [confidence] was definitely the vibe in the dugout.”
After scoring seven runs all series against Eastern Michigan the weekend before, Miami’s offense exploded for eight runs in the series opener against Toledo (7-17, 3-3 MAC).
Senior shortstop Carlos Adrian Texidor got the offensive battle started with a sacrifice fly in the second inning, before Redshirt sophomore left fielder Kyle Winkler made it 2-0 on an RBI single two batters later.
Miami added two more runs on a double from junior catcher Hayden Senger in the bottom of the third.
Toledo finally got on the board in the top of the fourth, hitting a two-run double to slice its deficit to 4-2.
MU added an insurance run in the fifth, when a sacrifice fly by freshman center fielder Parker Massman made it 5-2.
The RedHawks stole a run in the bottom of the seventh, as Massman got picked off, but ran around long enough for sophomore designated hitter Landon Stephens to score, making it 6-2.
Toledo wasn’t ready to give up yet. The Rockets came out firing in the top of the eighth, quickly loading the bases. They then struck for five runs, scoring on a bases-loaded walk, two RBI singles, a sacrifice fly and an RBI groundout.
Sophomore reliever Grant Hartwig was finally able to stop the bleeding for the RedHawks, as he came in and held the visitors scoreless for the remainder of the inning.
“They did a great job coming back and stringing a whole bunch of hits together [in the eighth inning],” Hayden said. “It wasn’t like we were making errors, or walking or hitting guys. They just strung together some hits.”
Miami wasn’t done, though. After Senger tripled to start the bottom half of the eighth, junior right fielder Dallas Hall drove him in with a sacrifice fly, knotting the game at seven.
Miami’s bullpen held strong in the top of the ninth, as junior Andy Almquist stranded runners on the corners to keep the score tied.
Massman played hero in the bottom of the ninth, ripping a walk-off single to give Miami an 8-7 series-opening win.
Almquist (W, 4-0) faced just one batter, but got the win after pitching Miami out of the ninth-inning jam.
The two teams got an early start Saturday, after Game Two’s first pitch was moved up to noon due to weather concerns.
Toledo grabbed an early 1-0 advantage on a solo homer in the top of the second, before the ‘Hawks tied it back up on a Hall sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning.
Two more crossed the plate for Miami in the bottom of the third inning to make it 3-1.
Continuing the back-and-forth play, the Rockets scored three in the top of the fifth to retake the lead, before Senger scored on an error in the bottom half of the inning to knot it back up at four.
After a scoreless sixth inning, Toledo took the lead for good with a two-run home run in the top of the seventh. The Rockets tacked on two more in the ninth and held the RedHawks scoreless the rest of the way to win 8-4.
MU junior Michael Hendricks (L, 1-1) was tagged with the loss after giving up the go-ahead dinger in the seventh.
Capitalizing on their momentum from Saturday, the Rockets scored first in Sunday’s rubber match, plating two in the top of the third.
Stephens started the scoring for Miami with an RBI double a half-inning later. After Senger hit an RBI single to tie the game, sophomore second baseman Will Vogelgesang followed with an RBI single of his own to put the RedHawks ahead 3-2.
Toledo struck for two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to jump out to a 6-3 advantage.
Following the recent trend of late-game dramatics, it was only natural for Miami to plate three in the bottom of the eighth to force another tie.
The first run scored on an RBI double by Hall. After the ‘Hawks got another run on a wild pitch, sophomore designated hitter Cal Elvers hit a sacrifice fly to knot the game at six.
Toledo was held scoreless in the top of the ninth to preserve the tie.
Parker Massman led off MU’s half of the ninth and reached base on a hit by a pitch.
With Massman on first and nobody out, Senger drove a double into the left-center field gap, bringing Massman all the way around and giving the RedHawks a walk-off, series-clinching win.
“I’m lucky to get to watch [Hayden Senger] play sometimes,” Hayden said. “He’s a really hard-worker. He prepares really hard. He’s the same guy Game One to Game Three in the weekend, which is tough to do when you catch all three games.”
Junior Bailey Martin (W, 2-3) was deemed Sunday’s winner after pitching 2.1 shutout innings out of the ‘pen.
“I’m really proud of [my guys],” Hayden said. “We didn’t play the cleanest game, although I think our pitchers did a really good job of keeping it where it was.”
The three-game set keeps the ‘Hawks a perfect 2-0 in conference series thus far.
Miami announced a change to its schedule on Monday, adding a home game against Otterbein today. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.