The Tiffin University baseball team put an end to their GLIAC Tournament winless streak on Thursday night, defeating Walsh University 3-2 in Xenia, Ohio. In the process, Tiffin earned their 30th win of the season, becoming only the second team to ever reach the 30-win mark in school history.
Coming off back-to-back wins in his last two starts, Ricky Krieger kept the hot streak rolling against Walsh. In the 1st, Krieger allowed one hit, but the threat came to an end quickly with a line drive double play. The Cavaliers collected another hit an inning later, but once again Krieger shut down the opposition.
In the top of the 3rd, Krieger faced his toughest test yet. With two outs, the Cavaliers put a pair of runners on with the number three batter due up. Ricky got the Cavaliers' first baseman to hit an innocent ground ball to third to strand both runners.
In the 4th, Walsh got to Krieger with a solo home run to lead 1-0. An inning later the lead grew to 2-0 with a sacrifice fly.
With Walsh in control it was time for the Tiffin bats to come alive, and in the bottom of the 5th they did. Kyle Durham singled and moved to second when Jack Dennis was hit by a pitch. A Brayden Callihan sacrifice bunt moved both runners up a base. The first run came as a gift courtesy of the GLIAC Pitcher of the Year, uncorking a wild pitch that scored Durham. Kurt Barbeau picked up his 41st run batted in on a ground ball to first base to tie the score at 2-2.
Krieger, feeling reinvigorated by the run support, had another daunting task ahead in the top of the 6th. The first two batters reached via singles to put the heat on Ricky. But it wasn't hot enough for the right-hander, getting out of the inning unscathed to preserve the tie.
In the top of the 7th, it was another high wire act by Krieger. With two outs and two on, a walk loaded the bases for the Cavaliers cleanup hitter. Again the Dragons' starter worked his magic, getting the batter to hit into a fielder's choice to escape danger.
With Krieger doing his job, it was time for the Tiffin offense to hold up their end of the bargain. With one out and Dennis at first base, Callihan singled to center field putting the go ahead run in scoring position. With the lineup turning over, Walsh went to the bullpen to try and stop the Dragons' rally. Barbeau, with a run batted in to his credit already, slapped a ball back up the box and into center field to score Dennis and give the Dragons a 3-2 lead.
Tiffin pieced their way through the 8th, with Krieger exiting after 7 1/3 masterful innings of work. Luke Fraley entered and retired the next two batters to setup the GLIAC's save leader in the 9th.
Kevin Borst got a line drive out to right field, and then a strikeout to put the Cavaliers up against it. The final out was rather wild, as an infield single turned into the final out when the runner attempted to advance an extra base.
Krieger allowed eight hits, one earned run, and struck out four over 7 1/3 innings of work. For Ricky, it is his 5th win of the year, tying him for second on the team.
At the plate, Barbeau finished with one hit and two runs batted in, and Kyle Durham collected a pair of hits and a run scored.
The Dragons move to 30-20 overall and will now tangle with the Grand Valley State Lakers tomorrow evening. The Lakers won earlier in the day, defeating the #2 seed Wayne State 2-1.