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Seahawks Win Series Opener

The Cougars opened up their season at Sylvester Field, on the campus of Northwood University, this afternoon. Sophomore Will Kirby took the mound for Clearwater, pitching six innings, scattering eight hits, and giving up four earned runs.

Kirby was around the strike zone all afternoon, not allowing any free passes. In his fourth inning of work on the bump, the Seahawks put together a big inning, after shortstop Pastor Sanchez led off the inning with a double, center fielder Curt Hilgenburg reached on a single, and right fielder Richie Reilly followed up with a single of his own, driving in Sanchez. A wild pitch advanced Hilgenburg and Reilly, setting up third baseman Christian Santo for a sac fly to right field, scoring Hilgenburg, and advancing Reilly to third. Designated hitter Stephen Fernandez then flew out to center, scoring Reilly, and making the score 5-2 after three innings.

The Cougars scored first, after junior Jefte Velez singled to start the game, advanced to second and third on passed balls, and then scored on a ground out from freshman Jake Reidy. Sophomore Justin Capela and junior Joel Felten were both stranded after being issued free passes, as Northwood starter Jake Kutsukos retired both freshman Caleb Jordan and junior Jon Rivera.

Tied 1-1 entering the third inning, Clearwater scratched across another run taking the lead again. With two outs and no one on base, Reidy doubled in the gap, and then Felten hit an RBI single between the first and second baseman to score Reidy. Felten finished the day going 2-3 with an RBI and a hit by pitch.

The Seahawks tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the third, after Manuel Gonzalez reached on an error, was moved to third on a bunt, and scored on a sac fly off the bat of second baseman Alexis Batista.

Entering the seventh inning, the Cougars trailed 5-2, but then the Seahawks were able to put three runs across off freshman Taylor Hill. Fernandez hit a solo home run in the inning.

Freshman Wade Irwin threw a scoreless eighth inning for the Cougars, keeping the score at 8-2.

Clearwater sparked a chance for a come back in the top of the ninth, after junior Barrette Lindsay singled with two outs. Lindsay pinched hit for freshman Peter Liloia IV, who finished the day 1-2 with a walk. Freshman Brandon Gonzalez then reached on a ball up the middle that the Seahawks were unable to make a play on, putting runners at first and second. Freshman Chris Zweifach followed up with a double, scoring both Lindsay and Gonzalez, making it 8-4. Velez singled up the middle, keeping the rally alive, but Zweifach was thrown out at the plate to end the game.

These two teams will play again tomorrow starting at 11:00am for the first game of the scheduled double header, as the Cougars will look to even and win the series. Stay tuned for the recaps following Game 2 and Game 3.

Notes: Liloia, Zweifach, and Reidy each recorded their first collegiate hits...Jordan threw out two runners attempting to steal Cougars recorded ten free passes were issued by the Cougars three pitchers.