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Cougars Advance to Regional Semi-Final After 4-3 Win
Facing elimination after dropping the South Regional Opener to Shorter University 5-2, the Cougars sent sophomore Stephen Martin to the mound against Johnson University (FL). Coming into the game, Clearwater was 4-1 on the year against the Suns.
Senior David Edwards scored in the bottom of the first inning after freshman Tim Reidy hit an RBI double to score him from second. Edwards was walked and had stolen second before the double.
Again in the third inning, Edwards scored from third on an RBI from senior Joel Felten on a 4-3 fielder's choice, giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead. The maroon and black plated another run in the bottom of the fifth after sophomore Emmanuel Chmielewski hit a ground ruled double that scored T. Reidy from second. T. Reidy reached base earlier in the inning on his third hit of the game and stole second, his second swiped bag through the fifth.
Clearwater tacked on an important insurance run in the bottom of the eighth after Edwards hit an RBI single scoring senior Jefte Velez, who ran for catcher Nick Abbruzzese, who doubled to lead off the eighth.
Martin (6-5) retired the first fifteen of seventeen batters he faced to start the game, recording four strikeouts over that span. He pitched out of a jam in the top of the sixth after the Suns loaded the bases with two outs by inducing a 4-3 putout to end the threat.
He faced another threat in the top of the ninth after walking two hitters and allowing a single, all with one out. He had only walked eight batters in over seventy innings before the ninth inning all season. A wild pitch scored second baseman Joseph Terazon to make it 4-1. With two outs, Luis Velazquez Jr., the Suns center fielder, hit a two RBI single, making it a one run game with the score 4-3. Designated hitter Brian Cabrera lined out to shortstop T. Reidy to end the threat and the game, stranding Velazquez Jr. on base.
Martin threw his ninth complete game of the year, allowing three runs--all earned, scattering seven hits, walking two, and striking out seven.
Edwards went 2-4 at the dish, reaching base four times in five plate appearances, scoring two runs, stealing three bases, and collecting a base on balls. T. Reidy finished 3-4 with an RBI, double, one run scored, and three stolen bases. All nine hitters for Clearwater either reached base at least one time or drove in a run.
Suns third baseman Dustin Lawson led JUFL's offense going 2-4.
The 4-3 win advances Clearwater to the NCCAA South Regional Semi-Final to be played tonight at 5:00pm against the loser of Toccoa Falls College vs. Shorter University.
Clearwater improves to 16-27 on the year.
NOTES: Martin's sixth win and ninth complete game is a team-high...Cougars stole six bases totaling ninety-nine on the season...Chmielewski drove in his twenty-first RBI of the year, a team-high...Edwards three stolen bases is a personal season-high and T. Reidy's three stolen bases is a personal career-high...Clearwater's sixteenth win this season is tied for the most in a season (2011) since 2000, according to records available.
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