FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Elms College baseball team dropped a pair of games against Illinois College to open the Gene Cusic Classic in Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday.
The Blazers drop to 0-3 on the season with the two losses. Elms returns to action with a pair of seven-inning games against Alvernia, beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday.
GAME 1 – Illinois College 4, Elms 3
The Blazers were edged by the Blue Boys in the opening game of Saturday's double-header despite a seventh-inning Elms rally.
Elms fell behind 2-0 in the bottom of the second inning when Illinois College capitalized on two Blazer errors with Bailey Reed's two-run double to left-center. With the score still 2-0 in the top of the fifth, Elms broke through for a pair of runs to tie the game. First, a passed ball scored Alex Hoss to cut the deficit to 2-1. Then, Kevin Banas doubled to center field, scoring Josh Pasini to tie the game.
Illinois College, however, kept the pressure on in the sixth inning. Daniel Reed led off the inning with a double to right field and Brendan Stanfield followed with a bunt single that left runners on the corners with nobody out. Thomas Owens was able to induce Bailey Reed to ground into a double-play, but Daniel Reed scored to put the Blue Boys ahead 3-2.
Once again, Elms responded. Alex Hoss led off the top of the seventh – and final – inning with a single down the left field line. Pasini's sacrifice bunt moved Hoss to second and Ben Ross followed with walk to put runners on first and second with one out. After Banas struck out, Thomas Slane was the Blazers' last hope, and he pulled through with a game-tying RBI single to center. Slane reached second after an ill-advised throw home, leaving runners on second and third and the game tied. Elms, however, was unable to capitalize, as Ben Kettlekamp replaced IC starter Dylan Jones and forced Josh Berthiaum into ground ball to end the inning, stranding Ross and Slane in scoring position.
Jaeden Rasmus came on to pitch the bottom of the seventh for Elms, but was ineffective. He allowed a hit and three walks, including a bases-loaded walk that gave IC the game-winning run with one out.
Owens racked up six strikeouts in six innings of work while scattering five hits for Elms and allowing just one earned run in the no-decision. IC's Dylan Jones finished with a similar line, allowing five hits with six strikeouts and two earned runs. Kettelkamp picked up the win for the Blue Boys.
Banas and Slane, the Nos. 3 and 4 hitters for Elms, each picked up a hit and an RBI in the game, and Hoss went 2-for-2 at the plate and scored twice.
GAME 2 – Illinois College 5, Elms 1
The Blazers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the second half of the double-header when Banas picked up a two-out single and Slane followed with a hard-hit RBI-double to the gap in left-center.
The lead didn't last long as Illinois College responded with a pair of runs in the top of the second to pull ahead 2-1. The Blue Boys added one in the third, one in the fifth, and one in the seventh while Alex Newton kept Elms off the board over the next five innings to pick up the win. Kettelkamp came on in relief in the seventh to close out the game. The only baserunner he allowed was Ross, who was hit by a pitch before being thrown out trying to steal second for the game's final out.
Slane went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and an RBI in the game, while Banas also picked up a pair of hits in three at-bats.