LIMA — Grand Lake had been scuffling.
But right-hander Russ Hogue (Lake Erie College) put an end to all that.
Hogue limited the Lima Locos to a run on three hits in seven innings to help Grand Lake notch a 5-1 victory Thursday at Simmons Field.
Hogue struck out four and walked one in his seven innings of work. Hogue wasn’t overpowering, but threw his fastball, breaking ball and change-up for strikes. He threw 93 pitches, 57 for strikes.
“Early on, the fastball was working, location-wise,” Hogue said. “In the middle innings, my change-up was really effective. At the end, it was the curveball.”
Added Grand Lake coach Cody Castle, “He’s a guy that’s going to go out there and mix speeds and throw his fastball and breaking ball for strikes.”
The Locos are 3-3. Grand Lake is 2-4.
“This was a big one for us,” Castle said. “The last couple of days haven’t gone our way, even though we’ve had some opportunities. A couple of big hits here was really nice. You could kind of see the relief come off their face.”
The game was tied at 1 until Grand Lake pushed across four runs on four hits in the eighth to take a 5-1 lead. John Brodner’s RBI single made it 2-1. Chris Seldan followed with an RBI single to make it 3-1. Tyler Gray made it three straight RBI singles and it was 4-1.
Brandon Mallder’s RBI groundout to second pushed the lead to 5-1.
Overall, Hogue, Corbin Stykemain (Niagara/Defiance) and Gerardo Dudamel combined on a five-hitter. Stykeman pitched a shutout eight, giving up two hits, for the win.
“It’s getting frustrating, for sure, because we’re facing guys that we should be hitting,” Locos coach Chad Ehrnsberger said. “And we’re not doing it. It’s a 40-game season and we’re six games deep, but at some point we have to figure it out or we’re going to make some changes.
“The way you face control guys, or guys who get you off-balance, is to wait back on it and hit the ball the other way. The disappointing part is we’re just not making adjustments.”
Defiance High product Ethan McKenney, a reliever at Bowling Green, started and went the first three innings, giving up one run on one hit. He struck out six and walked three. McKenney threw 51 pitches, 34 for strikes.
“He looked great,” Ehrnsberger said. “He’s on a pitch count that came to us from the Bowling Green coaches. He can gives us anywhere from 50 to 60 pitches a night.”
Grand Lake’s Brodner went 2 for 5 with two RBIs.
For the Locos, leadoff hitter Tyler Grogg went 2 for 3 with his seventh stolen base of the year. In the first, Grogg singled, stole second, took third on a groundout and came home on an RBI groundout to third by Zack Fields.
Right-hander Justin McCalvin (Kennesaw State), last year’s closer, was signed on Thursday and made his first appearance of the year. He threw the final 1 2/3 innings and gave up no runs on one hit. Using his fastball and nose-diving slider, he struck out three.
McCalvin had six saves and a 0.38 ERA for the Locos last summer. He’ll play in Lima unless a roster spot opens up for him in the Cape Cod League.
“I was hoping to keep him for a save situation, but obviously, we never got the lead,” Ehrnsberger said. … “It was good just to get him on the mound.”
The Locos travel to Celina’s Montgomery Field to face Grand Lake at 7 p.m. tonight.