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Irwin Propels Cougars Win in Complete Game Effort

Clearwater traveled to Ave Maria University on Monday afternoon for a non-conference matchup at Bowie's Ballpark. Freshman Wade Irwin hurled nine innings en route to a Cougars victory.

Irwin (2-4), picked up the win, throwing a complete game with seven strikeouts, giving up just one earned run, ten hits, and one walk.

The lone run he surrendered came in the top of the first as the Gyrenes shortstop Alex Sanchez hit a double to lead off the inning, was bunted over to third, and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Nick Sacchetta.

The Cougars bounced back in the sixth inning, stringing together productive plate appearances. Freshman Jake Reidy reached on an error to lead off the inning, followed by a single from junior Joel Felten. Junior Noel Thomas walked to load the bases, for freshman Caleb Jordan. Jordan hit a sacrifice fly to score Reidy from third, tying the game 1-1. Freshman Peter Liloia IV stepped to the plate with one out and runners on first and second. A passed ball advanced Felten to third, and Thomas to second, which allowed Liloia's ground out to second base to score Felten, giving Clearwater a 2-1 advantage. Thomas was stranded to end the inning.

The Cougars added an insurance run in the eighth, as Felten collected his second hit of the game to start the inning. He stole second, and scored on a two out single from Liloia IV, making it a 3-1 spread. Liloia's RBI was his second of the contest.

Irwin was tested in the eighth inning, after Alex Sanchez singled to lead things off. With one out and Sanchez on first, Sacchetta hit a routine fly ball to right field, but junior David Edwards couldn't find it in the air, and it dropped in for a single, putting runners at first and second. With the tying run at first base, Irwin recorded a big strikeout on designated hitter Justin Repullo, the Gyrenes clean up hitter. He then got a pop up to end the threat.

Again in the bottom of the ninth, the Gyrenes led off with a single, this time from Matt Baux. Irwin notched his sixth strikeout on Patrick Fahey for the first out, and keeping Baux at first base. With one out, pinch hitter Pete Lesniewski hit a hard ground ball off first baseman Noel Thomas, but Justin Capela was there to pick up the bounce and flipped the ball to Irwin covering first base. Irwin picked up his seventh strikeout to end the game, as the Cougars picked up a 3-1 victory.

David Edwards went 3-4 with a stolen base, and Jefte Velez went 2-4 with a walk.

The Cougars are now 7-24, and Ave Maria is 25-13 overall.

Clearwater will travel to Southeastern University to play #18 NAIA nationally ranked Freed-Hardeman on Tuesday afternoon for a 2:00pm start.

Notes: Irwin threw the first complete game of his career...Ave Maria outscored Clearwater 28-0 in the first three contests back in February...Edwards is on a five game hitting streak...Cougars stole three bags...Jordan threw out a runner trying to steal...first victory on a Monday since March 14, 2011 against Geneva College.