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Cougars Sweep Weekend Series
Clearwater took game three of the weekend, sweeping the series, and extending the win streak to four games. Senior Brent Kirkley picked up his second win of the season, throwing six innings, allowing two earned runs, and striking out six.
The Eagles jumped out to an early lead just like in game one, this time scoring three runs in the bottom of the first on a pair of hits, a walk, and a Cougars error.
In the bottom of the first, sophomore David Edwards led off the inning with a single. Junior Chris Caudillo advanced Edwards to second on a ground out to the second baseman, followed by a single from senior Zack Weber. With runners at the corners and one out, freshman Nate Krouse hit a double scoring Edwards, moving Weber to third. Weber scored on a passed ball during sophomore Chaz Russo's at bat, which also advanced Krouse to third base. Russo grounded out to short, but scored Krouse from third tying the game at 3-3.
Clearwater scored two more runs in the bottom of the second, taking a 5-3 lead. Freshman Manny Chmielewski reached on an error, followed by sophomore Jefte Velez and senior Ethan Barba hitting back to back singles, loading the bases. Caudillo hit a ground ball to second, but the second baseman made an error, scoring Chmielewski, and keeping the bases loaded. Senior Zack Weber hit another ground ball to second, scoring Velez.
In the top of the fourth, the Eagles fought back scoring two runs, with only one hit in the inning, tying the game at 5-5.
Velez led off the Cougars fourth with a single, but then was out at second when Barba bounced into a fielders choice. Barba stole second, and advanced to third on a bunt single by Edwards. With runners at first and third, Caudillo hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Barba from third. Weber was then hit by a pitch, putting Edwards in scoring position. Kirkley helped himself, in his first at bat of the season, after the Cougars lost the DH, and drove in Edwards with an RBI single, making it 7-5.
Edwards added an insurance run in the fifth, hitting an RBI single, scoring Chmielewski who led off the inning with a single.
Sophomore Kyle Baitz made his sixteenth appearance on the mound, closing out the game for the Cougars, earning his first save of the year in as many chances.
On the weekend, the Cougars tallied 40 hits, 30 runs, 5 sacrifice flys, 9 successful bunts, and received 20 2/3 innings from the starting pitchers out of 23 innings played.
The sweep extends the Cougars win streak to four, and will host the NCCAA DII defending national champions Toccoa Falls College this weekend for a three game series beginning Friday night at 7 p.m. at Frank Tack Park. This is the first time these teams will face off since last season's national championship game, where Toccoa defeated Clearwater 3-0.
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