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Despite Suns Late Rally, Cougars Pick Up Game One of Twin Bill

The Cougars traveled to Kissimmee, Florida for a twin bill against Florida Christian College. Clearwater put across nine runs in the fifth and sixth innings, which proved to be enough as the Cougars pulled away with a 9-7 win.

The Suns scored first, coming in the third inning after shortstop Mark Vidal, who finished 3-4 with a pair of RBI's, hit a solo home run to take a 1-0 lead.

Then, in the bottom of the fourth, designated hitter Randy Petito hit two RBI double that scored Elim Perritte and Eric Santamaria, to extend their lead to 3-0. Perritte doubled to start the inning, and Santamaria reached safely on an infield single. Petito finished a perfect 3-3 with a walk.

After leaving the bases loaded an inning earlier, Clearwater turned the tables and scored four runs in the top of the fifth. Junior David Edwards drew a one out walk, and was followed by back to back doubles off the bats of junior Jefte Velez and freshman Jake Reidy. Reidy's double scored both Edwards and Velez. Juniors Joel Felten and Noel Thomas hit back to back singles, to load the bases. Freshman Caleb Jordan, who finished 3-4, hit a double that scored both Reidy and Felten, as the Cougars took a 4-3 lead.

In the top of the sixth, the Cougars added five more runs after Velez hit an RBI double, Felten collected an RBI single, and Thomas hit a double that scored two.

After scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth, the Suns cut the deficit to 9-5.

Freshman starting pitcher Wade Irwin (5-4) took a 9-5 lead into the bottom of the seventh. The Suns kept crawling back, and Eric Santamaria blasted a two run home run, to make it a 9-7 game. Irwin, who had thrown 6 2/3 innings lasted just one more hitter, walking Randy Petito. Junior Kyle Baitz relieved Irwin, with the tying run at home plate. The first hitter Baitz faced, Suns outfielder Casey Elkins, drove a fastball into deep left field and was headed over the fence, but Jefte Velez robbed a potential game tying home run to close out the victory for Clearwater.

Irwin collected the win after allowing thirteen hits, walking three, and surrendering seven earned runs. Baitz (S, 1) earned the save, facing one hitter in the bottom of the seventh.

Nick Beavers took the loss for the Suns, giving up nine runs over 5 1/3 innings, while striking out four, and allowing five free passes.

Velez, Reidy, Felten, Thomas, Jordan, and Zweifach all had multi hit games. Jordan led with three hits.

The Cougars improve to 11-30, and the Suns drop to 20-20.

Notes: Jordan's three hit performance is a career high...Clearwater matched a season high fifteen hits...six of the nine Cougars starters had multi hit games along with eight of nine collecting a hit...Irwin's fourth win in as many starts...Baitz's save is the first of his career...both teams combined for eleven extra base hits.