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Clearwater Snaps Losing Streak


Senior Brent Kirkley paced the Cougars to victory in the back end of the double header against Florida Christian College on Saturday. The two time All American threw a one-hit complete game, striking out nine.

Kirkley struggled to get command of his pitches in the first inning, giving up the Suns only run of the day early. He settled in as FCC's only hit of the day came off the bat of second baseman Mark Vidal in the third inning when he led off with a double, but never scored.

The game stayed 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth inning. After a strikeout to lead off the inning, freshman Nate Krouse drew a walk, and reached second on a single to left by sophomore Chaz Russo. Sophomore Eddie Fuentes followed it up with a single of his own, loading the bases with one out. Freshman Manny Chmielewski hit a ground ball to second base, allowing Krouse to score from third, tying the game at 1-1. Sophomore Jefte Velez then hit a single scoring both Russo and Fuentes, extending the lead to 3-1. Senior Ethan Barba then drove a double over the left fielders head, scoring Velez from first, making it 4-1. Suns relief pitcher Kyle Harding came in out of the bullpen and retired sophomore David Edwards on a ground ball to second base, ending the Cougars threat.

The Cougars got things going again in the bottom of the fifth, as junior Chris Caudillo singled to start the inning. The next two Cougars were retired, but Russo extended the inning with one of his three singles on the day. Fuentes' third hit of the day in just as many chances, came on a 1-2 count, hitting a three run home run over the left field fence, giving the Cougars a 7-1 lead.

Russo and Fuentes both went 3-3 in the nightcap leading Clearwater's offense. Edwards and Caudillo each went 2-4, and Edwards had two stolen bases. Velez and Barba both got a hit a piece, with a combined three RBI's on their two hits.

Clearwater is now 1-1 in conference play, and will take the field again next Friday night as they welcome Alice Lloyd College from Kentucky for a three game weekend series. Friday night's game will be at the Joe DiMaggio Complex, with a 7 p.m. start. Saturday will be played at Frank Tack Park with the first pitch at 1 p.m.