ATHENS – We’re all even.
A night after getting smacked around, the Lima Locos responded.
The Locos pounded out 18 hits in a 13-6 victory over Southern Ohio Thursday at OhioUniversity’s Bob Wren Stadium.
The Great Lakes Collegiate League best-of-3 semifinal series is tied at 1-1. Game 3 is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight at Bob Wren Stadium.
The Locos’ victory came one night after losing to Southern Ohio 16-1 at Lima. The Locos had only three hits in the Game 1 rout.
“I’ve said it all summer, we’re two different teams,” Locos coach Chad Ehrnsberger said. “When we come out ready to play, with a passion and fire in our eyes, this is the kind of game we’re capable of. Hopefully, tomorrow we come out with this again.”
The Locos scored six in the top of the sixth to break a 2-2 tie and pull ahead to stay, 8-2.
Leading the way for the Locos was second baseman Matt Britton, who went 5 for 5 with two stolen bases and two RBIs.
“I think we came back with a better attitude,” Britton said. “Getting beat like that last night, we came back with a little chip on our shoulder. It was very embarrassing last night.”
Britton said the key in Game 2 for him was trying to hit it up the middle and “not pull off. I’ve hit the ball hard all summer, but right at people. It fell tonight.”
Matt Furuto went 2 for 5 with a double, a triple and three RBIs.
Jess Posey went 2 for 5, while Jose Cruz went 3 for 5.
With the bases loaded in the sixth, Cruz sent a fly ball to right that right fielder Taylor Burch lost in the lights. One run scored to give the Locos a 3-2 lead.
Shawn Sanders put down a perfect squeeze bunt with the bags loaded to score a run. It quickly became 5-2 when pitcher Zakary Esposito fired the ball over the catcher’s head, allowing Posey to score from second.
Britton’s two-run single made it 7-2. Furuto added on with an RBI double and it was 8-2.
The Locos added five more in the eight to make it 13-4. Furuto’s two-run triple made it 10-4. Casey Schroeder’s RBI double made it 11-4.
“The biggest thing was energy,” Schroder said. “We came out, got on top early. Everybody was seeing the ball well tonight, we strung hits together and the biggest thing is we scored runs.”
Zack Fields launched a two-run homer over the 20-foot high netting atop the left-field fence and the Locos’ lead swelled to 13-4.
Locos left-hander Travis Bergen (KennesawState) threw six solid innings. He gave up four runs, two earned, on six hits. He struck out six and walked one. Bergen threw 99 pitches, 63 for strikes.
“He threw strikes,” Ehrnsberger said. “Tonight his pitch count was down until the last inning or two. He got ahead of everybody and mixed his slider with his fastball for strikes.”
The Locos broke out to a 2-0 lead in the second.
The Copperheads tied the game at 2 in the fourth on a mammoth two-run homer by league MVP Jesse Puscheck. The ball easily cleared the 380-mark in right-center field.
Locos notes: Locos left fielder Tyler Grogg played for Southern Ohio in 2011 when the Locos defeated the Copperheads in the championship series. … The Locos are expected to start Connor Slavich (Purdue) today. … Ethan McKenney tossed the final three innings, giving up two runs, for a save. … The Locos left 16 on base, while the Copperheads left nine on base.