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Warriors Outlast Cougars With Walk Off
Clearwater traveled to Heart of Florida Field on the campus of Webber International University on Tuesday evening for a midweek contest against the Warriors.
The game was tied 2-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth and it didn't take long for the Warriors to push across the winning run. Catcher Pedro Fernandez reached on an infield single and stole second. Left fielder Cody Warren grounded out to shortstop Tim Reidy, keeping Fernandez at second with one out. Fernandez took third on a ball in the dirt. After Fernandez took third, the Cougars issued an intentional walk to center fielder Chris Suto, putting the possibility of a double play in order. Before Warriors shortstop Lane Crosson had a chance to put the ball in play, a pitch from the hand of sophomore Brandon Gonzalez scooted away from freshman Nick Abbruzzese, allowing Fernandez to score, as WIU walked off with a 3-2 win.
Gonzalez (0-4) threw a complete game for Clearwater, allowing three runs, giving up five hits, walking six, and striking out four. He faced the minimum in the bottom of the first and eighth inning.
The Cougars got on the board first in the top of the third inning. Sophomore Emmanuel Chmielewski drove in the first RBI of the game with a single through the right side of the infield that scored freshman Nathan Stanley from third, who reached earlier in the inning on a free pass. Senior David Edwards, who was also walked in the inning, scored the Cougars second run of the inning on a passed ball, giving Clearwater a 2-0 advantage.
WIU wouldn't let the maroon and black hang on to the 2-0 lead for long, bouncing back with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the third. Warren reached on a throwing error and scored later in the inning, along with Crosson who scored on a passed ball after reaching base on a single, tying the game at 2-2.
Both teams traded scoreless innings until the bottom of the ninth. Clearwater threatened in the fifth, stranding Stanley at third, and then stranded senior Joel Felten at third in the eighth after hitting a one out triple.
The walk off win for the Warriors pushes them above .500 with an 8-7 overall record and the Cougars are now 3-7 overall after the 2-3 loss.
Rob Lane picked up the win for WIU throwing two innings, allowing one hit, one walk, and striking out two.
Chmielewski led CCC offensively after finishing 2-4 at the plate with an RBI. Freshman Austin Yeoman, sophomore Jake Reidy, and Felten each added a hit each, totaling five hits for Clearwater on the evening.
The Cougars will return to the field on Friday night at Southard Stadium against St. Leo University for a 6:00pm start. This will be the first meeting between these two teams since 2012.
NOTES: Warriors have held the Cougars offense to exactly two runs in four of the last seven meetings between these two teams, all since 2011...Gonzalez set a career high 8 1/3 innings pitched...first game that has ended on a walk off in 2014 (five games ended on a walk off in 2013 with the Cougars record being 3-2 in those contests)...Warriors lead season series 1-0 with rematch scheduled for next Tuesday evening back at Webber International University for a 7:00pm start.
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