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Clearwater Drops Pitcher's Duel 1-0

After winning the opener of the three game series on Friday evening against Hiwassee College, the Cougars lost the first of the double header Saturday afternoon by a score of 1-0.

The game was scoreless until the top of the seventh inning after both teams swapped missed opportunities offensively. Hiwassee left five runners on base, including four in scoring position, over the first six innings. On the flip side, Clearwater stranded nine runners total, with six of those being in scoring position.

In the top of the seventh, the Tigers designated hitter Ta-Li Martin was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt from center fielder Cody Armstrong. Clearwater's starting pitcher, sophomore Stephen Martin, then retired first baseman Nikk Craig on strikes. With two outs and the go ahead run at third base, right fielder Mark Christy hit a ground ball to short and beat the throw, plating the Tigers lone run of the game.

In the bottom half of the seventh, the Cougars came up short. With one out and no one on, freshman Matt Schaefer was walked in his first plate appearance of the game. Senior David Edwards followed with a single, putting runners at first and second with one out. A pair of fly outs to left field ended the Cougars threat, falling 1-0.

Martin (0-1) threw a complete game, allowing just one run on four hits, surrendering one free pass on a hit by pitch, and striking out nine. He faced the minimum in three of his seven innings.

Senior Jefte Velez and freshman Nick Abbruzzese both reached base twice as Velez finished 1-4, but also reached on an error, and Abbruzzese went 1-2 with a walk. Velez swiped two bags in the game.

Chris Large picked up the win for Hiwassee after throwing four scoreless innings, giving up four hits, walking one, and striking out three. Matt Taylor pitched a scoreless seventh and earned the save.

The Cougars fall to 1-3 overall and the Tigers improve to 1-1 overall.

NOTES: Clearwater stole three bases...the last time the Cougars lost 1-0 dates back to April 13, 2013 against Toccoa Falls College, where Martin was also the pitcher of record...freshman Nick Abbruzzese threw out a runner attempting to steal second base in the top of the first.