FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Elms College baseball team was swept by Otterbein University by scores of 6-1 and 6-5 in Thursday's double-header at the Gene Cusic Classic in Fort Myers, Fla.
With the losses, Elms falls to 1-8 overall.
In the opening game, Otterbein plated three runs in the top of the third and top of the fourth innings to post a 6-0 lead.
Elms crossed the dish in the bottom of the fifth inning when senior shortstop Nico Iavicoli (Hampden, Mass.) reached on an error to start the frame and then scored from third base on an RBI single by junior center fielder Steve Fisher (West Boylston, Mass.) to set the score at 6-1.
Elms' junior starter Ryan Burnette (Chicopee, Mass.) tossed a complete game and suffered the loss, while Otterbein's Matt Frey (Hilliard, Ohio) fired six strikeouts in the seven-inning complete-game win.
The Blazers received two hits each from senior left fielder Donny Morse (Alfred, Maine) and senior catcher Rey Rivera (San Juan, Puerto Rico), while Billy Harkenrider (Westerville, Ohio) and Zach Thompson (Hilliard, Ohio) collected three hits each for the Cardinals.
In game two, Otterbein mounted an early 4-0 lead highlighted by a three-run first frame before Elms tallied a run on an RBI groundout by Fisher in the top of the fifth to set the score at 4-1.
In the top of the sixth, the Blazers tied the game when sophomore first baseman Anthony Pagano (Cranston, R.I.) reached on an error to start the inning, stole second and then moved to third on an infield hit by Morse. Freshman Brady Forrest (Hampden, Mass.) then connected for a double sending Pagano home and Morse to third bringing up Rivera who singled in Morse and set the runners on the corners. Iavicoli then grounded into a double play but it allowed Forrest to score to even the game at 4-4.
In the seventh inning, Elms took the lead when senior Sean Shanley (Bristol, Conn.) singled and was run for by sophomore Felix Montalvo (Carolina, Puerto Rico). A sacrifice bunt and a groundout moved Montalvo to third before Pagano drove him home with a double to give the Blazers a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, AJ Finlay (Grandview Heights, Ohio) scored from first on a single by Harkenrider who advanced to second on the play, and then scored the game-winning run on a walk-off base hit by Wes Meadows (Marion, Ohio) to lift the Cardinals to a 6-5 victory.
Morse, Rivera and Shanley registered two hits each for Elms in the losing effort, while Meadows led the Cardinals with a 3 for 4 effort at the plate.
Elms' junior southpaw John Russell (Springfield, Mass.) tossed all seven innings, striking out three batters in the process, while Otterbein's David Cydrus (Circleville, Ohio) entered in relief in the sixth and earned the win.
Elms concludes Cusic Classic action on Friday, March 16 at 9:00 a.m. against Olivet College.