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Baseball Ends Losing Skid Behind Kirby's Shut Out
Entering Friday morning, the Cougars came in on a five game losing streak. The weekend series was originally scheduled to start on Friday night, but with rain in the forecast, it started on Friday morning with two games slated to play. Tennessee Temple University entered the series with a 6-12 record.
Game one of the doubleheader lasted just one hour and thirty-seven minutes. There were only two runs and six hits combined between both teams. The score remained 0-0 until the bottom of the fifth inning.
In the fifth, freshman Nick Abbruzzese led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Gabriel Gali. After a strikeout, freshman Nathan Stanley was hit by a pitch to extend the inning and it put runners at first and second. With two outs, senior Jefte Velez hit a dribbler to third base and reached on a throwing error, allowing both Abbruzzese and Stanley to score on the play. Velez reached third on the error and was eventually stranded.
The two runs proved to be all junior Will Kirby (3-3) needed on the hill as he threw his third complete game of the season and his second shut out. Kirby threw seven innings, scattered three hits, walked two, and punched out three.
The biggest threat came in the top of the seventh inning for the Crusaders. After a lead off walk and a one out double, TTU had runners at second and third with one out. Kirby induced a sinking line drive to shallow center field which looked like it would drop off the bat, but sophomore Emmanuel Chmielewski made a diving catch and created a double play on an 8-4 putout to end the game.
Stanley led the Cougars offensively reaching base in all three plate appearances, going 1-1 with a double and a run scored. Chmielewski finished 1-3 with a double.
The 2-0 win Cougars improve to 10-16 overall and the Crusaders drop to 6-13.
NOTES: Fourth shut out by Clearwater pitching this season...Felten swiped one base...Kirby faced the minimum in four of the seven innings...two of the three hits for CCC were doubles...Stanley made his first start at shortstop this season...Clearwater ended their scoring drought at twenty-eight innings.
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