FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 5, 2018) – The USMMA baseball team defeated Elms College, 11-5, Monday on the second day of the Cusic Classic in Florida. With the victory, the Mariners improve to 3-0 on the season, while the Blazers fall to 0-6.
To view a photo gallery of the contest, click here.
Four Mariners recorded two RBIs each on the day – senior Michael Barnes (Alexandria, Va.), sophomore Matthew Austin (Rockledge, Fla.) and freshmen Alex Mesaros (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Vincenzo Alteri (Watertown, N.Y.). Three other Mariners knocked in one run apiece – senior Steve Lucy (Leawood, Kan.) and juniors Kyle Cunningham (Panama City Beach, Fla.) and Reilly Cherry (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho).
Cunningham, Austin, junior Tyler Mowry (Peachtree City, Ga.) and freshman Colin Baker (Clyde Hill, Wash.) all scored a team-best two runs each, while Mesaros, Alteri and Cherry all came across the plate once.
Barnes was 3-for-5 on the day with a two-RBI triple in the seventh inning, while Cherry went 2-for-4 and had an RBI double in the third for USMMA's other extra-base hit of the contest.
The Mariners got three hits and capitalized on two Blazer errors in the bottom of the first inning to take a 3-0 lead, but Elms quickly got two runs back in the top of the second. The Blazers evened the score at 3-3 in the top of the third inning on a bases-loaded single, but senior starting pitcher Justus Martin (Eaton, Colo.) limited the damage by induced a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play.
Merchant Marine immediately regained the lead, this time for good, in the bottom of the third. A single and stolen base from Austin, followed by Cherry's double put the Mariners ahead 4-3. Cherry then came around to score on a Mesaros single to put the Mariners up 5-3.
USMMA tacked on four more runs in the fourth, and picked up a pair of unearned runs in the seventh to make it 11-3. The Blazers cut the deficit to 11-5 in the top of the eighth, but that was all the offense they could manage.
The Mariners have scored in double-digits in all three of their games this season. They also stole three bases on the day – one each by Mesaros, Baker and Austin – and the season total is now up to 15 over the three games.
Martin earned the victory after hurling five innings and allowing three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts. Junior John Kelly Jr. (Apex, N.C.) provided back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in relief with one K and freshman Andrew Hunt (Severna Park, Md.) pitched the eighth inning and gave up two runs on three hits before Cunningham closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
For the Blazers, sophomore Jaeden Rasmus and freshman Nathan Ayala both had a team-high two RBIs apiece, while sophomore Josh Pasini contributed one RBI and scored a team-best two times. Classmate Jacob Graveline suffered the loss after tossing 3.0 innings and giving up five runs (two earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts.
The Mariners return to action on Wednesday, March 7, when they take on Saint John's (Minn.) in a doubleheader beginning at 9 a.m. at Terry Park #2 in Fort Myers, Fla. There will be no live coverage of the twin-bill.
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