Auburndale, Fla. – The University of Findlay baseball team played their final game in Florida on Wednesday, March 6 against one of the top programs in the country, Minnesota State Mankato. Findlay took an early lead but ultimately lost on a ninth inning walk-off by a score of 4-3. With that loss the Oilers fall to 3-2 on the young season while the Mavericks, winners of 31 games a season ago, improved to 7-2.
Findlay was the first team to strike, scoring in the top of the first inning. After two quick outs, sophomore Tyler Burley hit an infield single and then stole second base. He came around to score on a single down the right field line off the bat of senior Nic Varda, who was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double.
In the second, sophomore Ryan Johnson singled to start the inning and moved to third on a hit by junior Casey Gould. Senior Trevor Anderson singled to center which scored Johnson and gave the Oilers a 2-0 lead. Another RBI single by Varda in the third inning put the Oilers ahead 3-0. Through three innings of play, Findlay had three runs and eight hits.
From that point on, the game slowly turned in favor of the Mavericks.
Minnesota State scored their first run of the game in the third inning.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth innings were rather quiet for both teams as the team's pitchers had settled into the game and were in command.
Findlay's Hunter Weis started off the seventh inning with a strikeout, his eighth of the game, and got the second hitter to fly out to center. But three straight singles plated a run for the Mavericks and made the score 3-2. A walk loaded the bases and a balk by Weis brought in the tying run.
Freshman Trey Bame entered the game to throw the final two innings and, in the ninth, loaded the bases with one out. Minnesota State's three-hole and designated hitter stepped up to the plate and drove the ball to the wall in left, ending the game in walk-off fashion.
Weis was solid as the lefty tossed seven innings and scattered nine hits and two walks. He allowed three runs and struck out a career-high nine batters in the no-decision.
Offensively, after the third inning, Findlay managed just four base runners that included two hits and two walks.
Findlay is back in action on Friday, March 8 when they take on Clarion University in Cary, North Carolina at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.