FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 8, 2015) – The USMMA baseball team began the 2015 season on Sunday down in sunny Florida with a doubleheader against rival Coast Guard. The Mariners were on the wrong end of two one-run games, however, dropping the first by the score of 9-8 before falling in the second, 1-0.
The second game of the twin-bill was a pitcher's duel between Coast Guard sophomore Colton Cannon and Merchant Marine senior John Kret (Chappaqua, N.Y.). Cannon allowed just one hit and struck out six Mariner batters through six innings of work, while Kret fanned three batters and allowed only three hits and one run in 6IP. Cannon was replaced by Bears' senior Blake Thompson with the game still scoreless in the top of the seventh and Thompson retired the side in order.
Coast Guard won the game in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the seventh after sophomore Tim Duncan tripled to left field to lead off the inning and came home to score when the next batter, junior Kyle Wood, singled to center. The Bears only other hit in the game came off the bat of Thompson, who doubled to left in the third. Thompson earned the victory, his first of the season.
Freshman Bryson Campbell (Cool, Calif.) had the only hit of the game for USMMA, a single to center in the second inning. Senior Cameron Stadele (Alpharetta, Ga.) was 0-for-2 and drew a walk and reached second base in the fourth and junior Quinn Fleming (Ashburn, Va.) and freshmen Jacob Sithong (Orlando, Fla.) and Michael Barnes (Alexandria, Va.) were the only other Mariners to reach base, as all three of them were hit by a pitch. Sithong had a stolen base in the fifth.
In the first game of the day, Coast Guard put up a four-spot in the top of the second and added one more in the third to take a 5-0 lead after two and a half innings. Merchant Marine responded with a run in the bottom of the third on a double by Fleming that plated Sithong and then scored seven more in the bottom of the fourth to take an 8-5 lead. The very next half-inning, however, the Bears added four runs to take the 9-8 lead that they would go on to win with.
Stadele was 3-for-4 with a run in the opener, while Sithong (2-for-4) and Fleming (1-for-3) both recorded two RBIs apiece. Barnes had a hit and a run batted in, as did sophomore designated hitter Francis Grzymkowski (Stafford, Va.).
Sophomore Patrick Morgan (Roxboro, N.C.) started on the mound for the Mariners and gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits in four innings pitched. The loss went to senior Reed Buck (Lawrenceville, Ga.), who surrendered four runs (only two earned) on three hits in one inning of work. Junior Zach De St. Germain (Eagle, Ind.) hurled the last two innings and allowed one baserunner after hitting his first batter faced in the sixth, but then went on to face the minimum of six after getting help from a double play.
Coast Guard was led by sophomore Brendan McNeil, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Five other Bears knocked in a run in the game. Wood and freshman Alex Murdoch both scored two runs, apiece.
Sophomore Justin Rebholz earned the victory for USCGA after pitching 3.1 innings and allowing just one run on six hits while striking out one. Freshman Cody Bain earned a one-out save, striking out the only batter he faced in the bottom of the seventh.
The two teams will be back at it tomorrow with a single nine-inning game scheduled for 9 a.m. at Terry Park Field 2 down in Fort Myers, Fla. Live stats can be found by clicking here.
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