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Cougars Battle #18 NAIA Nationally Ranked Freed-Hardeman in 4-2 Loss
Clearwater traveled to Ted A. Broer Stadium on the campus of Southeastern University to play Freed-Hardeman University on a chilly Tuesday afternoon.
The game on Tuesday afternoon marked the second time the Cougars have played a top 25 nationally ranked NAIA program this season. #18 Freed-Hardeman entered the contest with a 24-3-1 record.
Junior Kyle Baitz (1-2), who has seen action strictly out of the bullpen over the past two seasons, got his first start since his freshman season. He tossed a complete game, throwing seven innings, allowing two earned runs, seven hits, and struck out four. He took the loss.
In the top of the fourth, with the score tied 0-0, Freed-Hardeman plated three runs, with three different Lions hitters, Ryan Huber, Garrett Ferguson, and Joe Mike, recording RBI's.
They added one more insurance run in the seventh, as shortstop Kyle Dearing knocked in Joe Mike, spreading their lead to 4-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, Clearwater made a run at a comeback. Freshman catcher Caleb Jordan walked to start the inning, followed by a Lions throwing error off the bat of freshman Peter Liloia IV, which put runners at second and third with no outs. Sophomore Justin Capela recorded an RBI on a ground out to second base, as Jordan crossed home. Freshman Chris Zweifach hit an RBI single to score Liloia IV from third, making it a 4-2 deficit. The Lions starting pitcher Ryan Wood then recorded back to back ground outs to close out the game.
Wood earned the win throwing a complete game, allowing five hits, and striking out three.
David Edwards finished the game 2-3 at the plate.
The game finished just shy of ninety minutes, one of the fastest games Clearwater has played this season.
Clearwater will now rest over the next five days, and will return to action a week from today as they head to back Southeastern University for a midweek match up with the first pitch scheduled for 7:00pm. This will be the Cougars fourth trip to Ted A. Broer Stadium this spring and the first time playing the host, Southeastern University.
Notes: Baitz threw his first complete game this season and ninth from a Cougars starting pitcher this season...Edwards has a six game hitting streak...Clearwater is tied for second for the most stolen bases in the NCCAA DII...Cougars stranded six baserunners and allowed three errors...Felten had four assists and two put outs on defense.
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