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Tritons Offense Powers Win Over Visiting Cougars

Clearwater traveled to the Turley Athletic Complex on Tuesday evening for a midweek matchup against Eckerd College. The Tritons plated fifteen runs en route to a 15-4 victory.

Eckerd, a member of the Sunshine State Conference, entered Tuesday's game with a 1-1 record after splitting a doubleheader this past Sunday against Florida Memorial University. On the other side, the Cougars were entering their second game of the season after dropping the season opener to Taylor University a week ago.

Heading into the Tritons half of the second inning, the game was scoreless. Eckerd's centerfield Carter Cashman led off the bottom of the second reaching on an error, stole second base, advanced to third on a sac fly, and then scored the first run of the contest after teammate James Petika hit an RBI sac fly, barely reaching home safely before Cougars rightfielder Emmanuel Chmielewski throw got to home in an attempt for an inning ending double play. Eckerd managed to string together three more base hits in the inning, including a three run home run off the bat of shortstop Rowdy Andrews, extending the Tritons lead to 4-0.

Eckerd continued to create opportunities by putting the ball in play again in the bottom of the third. After leftfielder Grant Banko was issued a free pass on four pitches to start the inning, first baseman Chris Hanson hit what looked like a taylor made double play off the bat, but turned into a Cougars error, and put runners at first and second with no outs. Cashman bunted, intending a sacrifice bunt, but beat the throw at first, loading the bases. On a wild pitch, Banko scored making it 5-0. Mike Abraham, the Tritons designated hitter, then singled home Hanson giving Eckerd a 6-0 lead. After the single, freshman Tim Reidy entered the game to pitch in relief of starting pitcher Brandon Gonzalez (0-2). Petika and Adam Moreau both added their second RBI of the game to complete the Tritons scoring in the third, extending their lead to 8-0.

In Clearwater's half of the fourth, they plated one run on two doubles. Sophomore Jake Reidy led the inning off with a double, followed by a one out double from Chmielewski, who recorded his first RBI of the season.

Eckerd's offense wouldn't let up in the bottom of the fourth as Hanson hit a two RBI double along with Abraham hitting another RBI single, which spread their lead to 11-1.

Freshman Nick Abbruzzese led the Cougars off with a single in the fifth, followed by freshman Nathan Stanley's single of his own. Senior David Edwards recorded his first RBI of the season on a single to right field that scored Abbruzzese. Senior Jefte Velez plated the Cougars third run of the game on a ground out to shortstop that scored Stanley, cutting Eckerd's lead down to 11-3.

The Tritons put across one more run in the bottom of the fifth, one in the seventh, and two in the eighth. Clearwater scored their fourth and final run of the game in the top of the ninth after an RBI single from Velez that scored Stanley, making it a 15-4 game, but remained as the final score.

Gonzalez took the loss throwing two innings, allowing five hits, walking one, and striking out two. He allowed eight runs, three of which were earned.

Velez, Chmielewski, and Stanley each had multi-hit games leading the Cougars offensive attack. Velez also collected two RBI's on the night.

Clearwater drops to 0-2 to start the young season, while Eckerd improves to 2-1 overall. The Cougars will host Hiwassee College (NCCAA) this coming weekend at Jack Russell Stadium for a three game series. Clearwater swept the series with Hiwassee in 2013, including two of those games ending in walk off fashion. The first pitch of the weekend is set for 7:00pm on Friday evening.

NOTES: Cougars used six pitchers...Felten and Chmielewski both swiped their first bags of the year...Felten's hitting streak ended at eight games...Stanley and Abbruzzese both collected the first hit of their college career...Clearwater hit five doubles.