Head coach/third base coach Tony Vittorio’s arms were like those of a traffic cop as he waved his team around third and homeward. final score was Dayton 14, the University of Toledo 6, the most runs scored by the Flyers in one game this season, aided and abetted by four home runs.
DAYTON — All afternoon, the traffic above Woerner Field on I-75 near the U.S. 35 construction site was bumper-to-bumper, a steady standstill. Nothing moved quickly.
Meanwhile, on the field, the University of Dayton baseball team was in perpetual motion, traffic was flow and go as the Flyers circled the bases. Head coach/third base coach Tony Vittorio’s arms were like those of a traffic cop as he waved his team around third and homeward.
The final score was Dayton 14, the University of Toledo 6, the most runs scored by the Flyers in one game this season, aided and abetted by four home runs.
When the day began the two teams were mirror images.
—Dayton was 4-and-14. Toledo was 3-and-17.
—Dayton’s team batting average was .220. Toledo’s team batting average was .194.
—Dayton was averaging 3.5 runs and 7.2 hits. Toledo was averaging 2.7 runs and 6.4 hits.
“You watch, this game will be 11-10,” said UD pitching coach Ryne Romick as he studied a statistical sheet before the game.
And he was mostly right-on, especially on the UD side. A wind blowing out at 26 miles an hour was a big help, too.
Mostly, though, it was en-Doring day for UD shortstop Robbie Doring. After he made two errors on difficult plays early in the game, helping Toledo to grab three runs in the second inning for a 3-0 lead, Doring and the Flyers took command.
After a scoreless first inning, the Flyers scored runs in the next five innings, including four in the second and four in the third. Doring’s two-run home run in the second gave UD a 4-3 lead it never relinquished.
Doring doubled in the first inning, homered in the second, walked his next three times and was on base all five plate appearances and stole a base. And the contributed a couple of top shelf defensive dandies. And he scored three times.
Doring bats leadoff, but leads the Flyers in home runs with five and runs batted in with 15. So why is this guy batting leadoff instead of third or fourth?
Vittorio has a quick and ready answer.
“He can be a dynamic player,” Vittorio said about Doring. “He can hit with power, he can run, get on base. Originally we liked him in the three or four hole. He is a sure presence at the plate so we lead him off to get some things going.”
So what does the 6-foot-2, 193-pound junior from Grafton, Wisc., prefer? And how do they play spring baseball in Wisconsin when spring lasts about two days?
“Our high school played during the summer,” he said. Our season didn’t start until school was out,” he said. And as for where he bats, Doring said, “Whatever ‘V’ needs me to do. The lineup can switch from game-to-game, depending on what we need. If it is my job to get on base, that’s what I’ll do.”
Doring plays the game as if it is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 325 days a year avocation. “I love the game. There is nothing I’d rather do,” he said.
Doring had plenty of offensive assistance on this wind-swept afternoon.
Second baseman Nick Ryan had a pair of hits, including a three-run home run during a four-run third inning. Designated hitter Aaron Houseman was 2 for 5 with a home run and two RBI. First baseman Mark Giesler was two for three with a home run and three runs scored.
During a victory Sunday in Muncie, Ind. over Ball State, the Flyers went nine innings without once striking out. They almost did it again Tuesday. They struck out once and that happened in the eighth inning.
“It was an offensive day for both teams,” said Vittorio. “And we played it offensively. We got some big hits (several with two outs). The way the wind was, not striking out might have been the difference in the game.”
Toledo hitters struck out seven times and nobody left the premises with a home run for the Rockets.
“I thought our pitchers competed hard enough during a hitter’s day,” Vittorio added.
Freshman left hander Tyler Henry made his collegiate starting debut after five relief appearances and gave up two earned runs and four hits over two innings. Five relief pitchers held the Rockets out of reach.
Danny Hentz pitched 2 1/3 innings and gave up two earned runs on four hits. He left with one out and two on in the fifth. Ben Polancy replaced him and threw one pitch, an inning-ending double play. Polancy went 1 2/3 innings and gave up only a walk.
Austin Cline gave up a run and a hit in one inning and Sam Brunner pitched a perfect eight. Red-shirt sophomore Chad Phenis made his collegiate pitching debut in the ninth and struck out his first batter and retired his second. He had difficulty getting the third and final out — a hit, two walks and a wild pitch for a run before he struck out the last batter.