Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Elms College baseball team split a pair of games in a non-conference doubleheader with Saint John's (MN) at the 2017 Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic at the Player Development Complex Wednesday morning. Elms captured a 5-4 win in the opener, but fell to the Johnnies, 6-3, in the finale. The Blazers move to 1-7 on the season, while the Johnnies sit at 7-4 overall.
Game 1: Elms 5, Saint John's 4 (Final)
Saint John's grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Cameron Jurek (Foley, Minn.). The Blazers loaded the bases to open the bottom of the second, and then sophomore Alex Hoss (Stafford Springs, Conn.) brought home seniors Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) and Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn.) with a two-run single. After a hit batter loaded the bases again for Elms, senior Kyle Platner (Northfield, Mass.) delivered an RBI sacrifice fly, followed by an RBI single from classmate Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) to push the Blazers to a 4-1 lead.
The Johnnies evened the score in the top of the third inning behind RBI singles from freshman Wyatt Urlich (Baudette, Minn.) and Jurek, and a sacrifice fly from freshman Jack Schramel (St. Cloud, Minn.) to make it 4-4. The Blazers plated the game-winning run in the bottom of the frame as Brunetti knocked a one-out single, followed by walks to senior Brian Hungerford (New Preston, Conn.) and junior Andy Vasquez (Queens, N.Y.) to load the bases. Hoss rip a ball that was misplayed at first base, allowing Brunetti to scamper home and hand Elms a 5-4 lead. The Johnnies threatened with runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth inning, but the Blazers held SJU off the scoreboard to secure the 5-4 win.
Elms senior Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) went 2-for-3 from the dish, with Hoss driving in a pair of runs and Brunetti scoring twice. Platner and Zima each knocked in a run in the win. Sophomore Thomas Owens (1-1; Enfield, Conn.) claimed the victory on the hill, surrendering four runs on eight hits with four strikeouts, and Platner earned his first save of the season in relief.
Game 2: Saint John's 6, Elms 3
The Johnnies hung three runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning with SJU loading the bases with one out. Sophomore Thomas Meland (Northfield, Minn.) delivered an RBI fielder's choice, followed by back-to-back RBI singles from sophomore Tommy Auger (St. Cloud, Minn.) to stake the Johnnies to a 3-0 lead.
The Blazers jumped on the board in the third with Hoss scoring on a wild pitch. Elms cut the deficit to 3-2 in the top of the fifth on an RBI groundout from Platner. SJU answered in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run double from Auger and an RBI single by junior Brennan Swan (Plymouth, Minn.) to extend the gap to 6-2. The Blazers put runners in scoring position late, adding an RBI single from Platner, but the rally came up short, 6-3.
Hoss paced the Blazers at the dish with a 3-for-3 game while scoring twice. Platner notched two hits with two RBIs. Freshman Jacob Graveline (0-2; Palmer, Mass.) took the loss on the mound, allowing six runs, three earned, on 12 hits with two strikeouts.
The Blazers will return to the diamond in their final action of the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic, facing Lakeland College in a doubleheader Thursday morning. First pitch of game one is slated for 9:00 a.m.