ATHENS, Ohio – Junior Tanner Piechnick's (Canonsburg, Pa.) walk-off grand slam pushed Ohio Baseball (5-15, 1-1 MAC) to a 12-11 win over Central Michigan (14-7, 1-1 MAC) on Saturday afternoon at Bob Wren Stadium.
"I saw it go off the bat and at that point you knew, there was no way that ball was coming back," head coach Rob Smith said. "Everybody was going crazy as soon as he hit it. He's (Tanner Piechnick) a guy that has the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. When you get in the position to win or tie a game, and you have him sitting the bench, he always has the potential to do something like that."
Ohio was down 11-7 heading into the bottom of the ninth. Junior Jack Longo (Mayfield, Ohio) and redshirt freshman OF Trevor Lukkes (Tustin, Calif.) started the inning with walks. Senior 1B Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) singled to left field and scored Longo to cut the CMU lead to 11-8. Sophomore OF Sebastian Fabik walked to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Piechnick pinch hit and hit the walk-off grand slam to left field.
"Right off the bat I knew it," Piechnick said. "It felt great. I got a fastball. I got it in the right spot and put a good swing on it."
Junior INF Trevor Hafner (Perrysburg, Ohio) posted a season-high three RBIs after going 2-for-4 with a triple, single and two runs scored. Redshirt freshman OF Trevor Lukkes (Tustin, Calif.) drove in two RBI with a double and also reached on a walk.
CMU started the game up 4-0 after posting four runs in the top of the first. The Chippewas pushed the advantage to 6-0 in the top of the fourth.
Ohio was able to cut the lead in the bottom of the fifth after plating four. Freshman INF Zyon Avery (Indianapolis, Ind.) singled to right field to score redshirt sophomore C Dan McClauley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) for the first run of the game. Hafner tripled to right field to score redshirt sophomore Michael Richardson (Cambridge, Maryland) and Avery. Sophomore INF Aaron Levy (Cincinnati, Ohio) brought home a run on a ground out to make it 6-4.
Richardson ended the day 2-for-4 with a double, single and two runs scored. Avery went on to reach base three times, going 2-for-2 with a walk.
The Chippewas added a run in the seventh to go up 7-4. Ohio tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with three runs at 7-7. Hafner drove in Richardson – who had reached on a double to left – and Lukkes doubled down the left field line to score Hafner and Avery.
CMU punched right back and went up 9-7 in the top of the eighth. The Chippewas were able to add two runs on two hits in the top half of the inning before Ohio's five runs would win the game in the ninth.
Freshman RHP Braxton Kelly (Ulysses, Ky.) earned his first collegiate win after tossing the ninth. He pitched 1.0 innings and allowed two runs to score.
Redshirt senior Nick Kamrada (Grand Ledge, Mich.) tossed 1.1 shutout innings for Ohio, allowing just one hit.
Freshman LHP Joe Rock (Aliquippa, Pa.) started for Ohio and tossed 3.0 innings. Rock struck out two batters and allowed four earned runs.
Freshman RHP Matt Brosky (Strongsville, Ohio) sat down two batters threw 2.1 frames while allowing one earned run.
Ohio will be back in action on Sunday to wrap up the series with Central Michigan. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.