PARKERSBURG -Two grand slams in one game isn't commonplace. That is unless it happens to be Ohio Valley University entertaining Glenville State in a nine-inning game Friday afternoon at City Park.
Ethan Szabo's homer with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth inning turned out to be the difference as GSC defeated the Fighting Scots 8-5 in a game devoted to "Strike Out Cancer."
"Right-center field is Ethan's power alley," GSC coach Tom Gilbert said after his ballclub improved to 6-41 and 5-28 in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. "He was overdue."
Photo by Kerry Patrick
Ripley High School product Jonathan Murphy started on the mound for Glenville State in a nine-inning game Friday against Ohio Valley University and earned the victory after pitching 6 2/3 innings in a 8-5 victory.
Batting from the right side of the plate, Szabo's opposite field blast occurred just moments after a visit to the mound.
"We told our pitcher that he had to make good pitches and relax," OVU coach Bob Crawford said as his team slipped to 8-33 and 4-26 in the WVIAC. "We said the next batter is a good hitter and our guy didn't hit his spot."
A freshman from Ripley earned the win for GSC. Starting pitcher Jonathan Murphy allowed five runs in 6 2/3 innings of work before giving way to another West Virginian. Junior Brock McClung from Letart (Mason County) retired seven of the eight batters he faced and picked up the save.
Suffering the loss was Warren High School product Zach Heath, who surrendered seven runs in six innings. OVU utilized just two pitchers. In three innings of relief, J.R. Davis allowed one run on three hits.
"Zach has done well with us, but he got a couple of pitches up," Crawford said.
GSC opened the scoring on a two-run homer from the coach's son - sophomore Danny Gilbert - in the top of the second inning.
"Danny has struggled a little bit and we've been working real hard with his swing, and he just did a great job turning on it," his father said.
The Fighting Scots sliced the deficit in half at 2-1 in the home half of the fourth inning. Tyler Wharton singled with one out and one batter later took advantage on a base hit to left field by Mason Rine which was misplayed by the left fielder and Wharton scored all the way from first base.
In the fifth, Heath set down the first two batters he faced but couldn't provide the knockout punch as John Royce and Justin Lewis recorded consecutive singles followed by a base on balls to Heath Swisher.
That loaded the bases for Szabo, who delivered his grand slam on a 1-1 count.
"The pitcher hung one up and I took advantage," Szabo said.
GSC tacked on an unearned run in the sixth inning to increase the advantage to 7-1 before OVU answered in a major way in the bottom half of the frame.
Similar to Heath's situation earlier in the game, Murphy recorded two outs after issuing a lead off walk to Hugo Olivares. The Fighting Scots kept the inning alive on back-to-back singles from Mike Shepherd and Rine. Next to the plate was Caldwell High School product Cody Morris, who sent a 2-1 offering over the center field fence for the game's second grand slam.
"Cody is a redshirt freshman who has nowhere to go but up," Crawford said. "His homer was a pop. He also hit some major league pop ups today."
With OVU creeping to within 7-5, GSC pushed the margin back to three after scoring its second unearned run in the seventh inning.
OVU never threatened again after managing just one baserunner - a two-out walk in the ninth inning- against McClung in 2 1/3 innings.