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Saints Take First Game of Series
The Cougars traveled to St. Augustine for a three game series that started Friday night against Flagler College. The Cougars took an early lead, but the Saints ended up on top, 7-3.
Freshman Chris Zweifach got things going in the top of the first, with a one out single to right field. Freshman Jake Reidy followed Zweifach with his first of two singles in the game, putting runners at the corners with one out. Junior Joel Felten hit a groundball to the Saints second baseman, but Reidy was already in motion, so the double play was prevented, and Zweifach was able to score from third, putting the Cougars ahead 1-0. Felten finished the day 1-4 with 2 RBI's.
Sophomore Will Kirby started for Clearwater on the mound, and rolled through the first three innings, giving up one hit, and striking out five. He got into some trouble in the fourth, after a pair of singles from Tyler Vanover and Jay Laurienzo. Kirby then issued a free pass to Shaun Starnes, loading the bases. Flagler's second baseman, Andrew Brodbeck followed with a groundball to second base, which junior Jon Rivera couldn't handle, allowing Vanover to score, and tie the score 1-1. With the bases loaded and no outs, catcher Chance Mitchell hit a sinking line drive that junior Jefte Velez made a catch on, and then doubled off Starnes at second. Laurienzo scored on the play, as Velez was getting the ball into Rivera for the double play, taking the lead 2-1.
The Saints put three more runs across in the fifth, after center fielder Jake Hanson scored on a passed ball, right fielder Jay Laurienzo drove in Joe Post, and third baseman Shaun Starnes drove in Brett Moreland. Hanson and Moreland both reached on walks, and Post reached on a throwing error from Kirby. After five innings, the Saints led 5-1.
Kirby (0-2) finished the day with five innings pitched, striking out seven, walking four, scattering four hits, and giving up five runs of which three were earned.
Clearwater answered back in the top of the sixth inning, after Felten drove in Zweifach with a single up the middle, cutting the Saints lead to 5-2. Zweifach had reached on a single of his own, and scored his second time of the game, finishing 2-4 at the plate.
Flagler put two more runs across in the bottom of the eighth, with Post and Moreland both collecting an RBI each. Both runners that scored in the eighth reached on walks.
Clearwater trailed 7-2 heading into the ninth.
With two outs and no one on, freshman Brandon Gonzalez hit a double to get things going. Rivera then hit a groundball to shortstop Joe Post, who made a throwing error, allowing Gonzalez to score, making it 7-3. Saints relief pitcher Alex Leighton retired sophomore Justin Capela to end the game, stranding Rivera.
Saints starting pitcher Justin Ratte threw seven innings, striking out six, scattering six hits, and giving up two earned, picking up his first win of the season. Laurienzo led the Saints offensively, going 3-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
These two teams will finish the series tomorrow afternoon with a double header scheduled for a 1pm start at Drysdale Field.
Notes: Gonzalez picked up his first collegiate hit...freshman Garrett Johns threw one pitch in relief to record the Saints third out in the bottom half of the eighth...six Cougars recorded hits...Flagler did not issue a free pass...five of the seven Saints runs reached base due to an error (1) or a walk (4).
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