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Clearwater Defeats Eckerd College in Non-Conference Midweek Matchup

On Tuesday evening, Eckerd College traveled to Jack Russell Stadium for the last midweek game of the season for Clearwater. The Cougars combined good pitching, defense, and hitting in the 9-5 win.

Clearwater struck first in the second inning, as junior Noel Thomas and sophomore Justin Capela both hit singles in the inning. Thomas scored after junior Jon Rivera reached on a Triton error, as the ball rolled far enough away to give Thomas time to score.

Tritons catcher James Petika singled to start off the third inning for Eckerd, and scored on a Cougars error off the bat of Lincoln Dunham. After both teams swapped errors for runs, it was a 1-1 game after the top of the third.

In the bottom of the third, junior David Edwards led off with a single, while freshman Jake Reidy and junior Joel Felten also singled to load the bases. Thomas was involved in the action again, as he hit a double scoring all three baserunners, giving the Cougars a 4-1 lead. Thomas was thrown out at third on the play as he attempted to stretch the hit into a triple.

In the next half inning, Mike Vavasis, James Petika, and Audry Santana all collected an RBI each for Eckerd. Petika finished the game going 2-3 with a run scored, an RBI, and a walk.

Entering the bottom of the sixth, with the score tied 4-4, Felten singled to start the inning and was followed by Thomas and freshman Caleb Jordan, who were issued walks. Felten scored on a passed ball during Jordan's at bat. Rivera collected his second RBI of the game, this time on a base hit, scoring Thomas, giving Clearwater a 6-4 lead.

After the Tritons were given free passes to start the seventh inning, the Cougars went to freshman Wade Irwin, the fifth pitcher of the game for Clearwater. Inheriting runners at first and second with no outs, he managed to get out of the inning with Eckerd plating just one run, which came on a sacrifice fly from Adam Moreau.

Edwards, who finished the evening with a 5-5 performance, led off the bottom of the seventh with a single. After Reidy walked, Felten collected his third hit of the game and his first RBI. Thomas knocked in Reidy for his fourth RBI of the night, making it an 8-5 game. Then, with one out and Felten at third, Jordan hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Felten, spreading the lead to 9-5.

Irwin shut the door in the eighth and ninth, throwing three innings total, walking two, and striking out two as he earned the save.

Freshman Stephen Martin (3-6) picked up the win after throwing a scoreless sixth inning, allowing just one runner.

Junior Kyle Baitz made his second start of the season on the mound, throwing four innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on five hits and no walks. He did not get a decision. Sophomore Will Kirby stopped the Tritons offense in the fifth with a 1-2-3 inning. Freshman Taylor Hill made his fifteenth appearance of the season before being relieved by Iriwn.

Edwards collected five hits, and teammates Noel Thomas and Joel Felten had three hits a piece, leading the Cougars attack.

Clearwater improves to 9-28 with the win, and the Tritons fall to 14-20.

The Cougars will be on the road this weekend in Georgia for a three game series against conference foe, Toccoa Falls College. The first game is set for Friday afternoon at 3:00pm.

Notes: Edwards five hit performance is the second time this season a Cougars hitter reached that feat...Irwin's save is the first of his collegiate career....Thomas' four RBI's are a career high...Cougars finished 1-1 on the year against the Tritons, with each team winning at home...Felten scored three times, an individual season high...Rivera has singled in each of the past four games.