Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Elms College baseball team pushed their win streak to seven games, sweeping a pair of games against the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at the Player Development Complex Wednesday morning. The Blazers took game one, 3-2, and then captured a 5-1 win in the finale.
Game 1: Elms 3, USMMA 2
In the opener, the Mariners grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a bases loaded RBI groundout from sophomore Michael Barnes (Alexandria, Va.), followed by a sacrifice fly from freshman Kai Vitella (Lewes, Del.).
The Blazers chipped away at the USMMA lead in the top of the second behind a two-out RBI single from sophomore Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn.) to make it a 2-1 game. Elms evened the score in the sixth as junior Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) ripped a double to right field, advanced to third on an error by the right field, and then scored on a misplay by Barnes at shortstop to tie things at 2-2.
In the top of the seventh, the Blazers pulled ahead behind singles from junior Tim Gelzinis (N. Dighton, Mass.) and Brunetti, and then an RBI fielder's choice from senior Nolan Medeiros (Taunton, Mass.) to put Elms ahead 3-2. USMMA threatened in the bottom of the frame putting runners in scoring position, but the Blazers got a force out at home, and then Wadja cut down a runner at home from left field to lock up the 3-2 win.
Elms senior Brian Langdon (1-0; Beacon Falls, Conn.) earned the win in relief, holding the Mariners scoreless on four hits with two strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work. Wadja went 3-for-3 from the plate, while Brunetti added a pair of hits with an RBI.
USMMA junior Nathan Slusarczyk (0-1; Woodbury, N.J.) took the loss, allowing three runs, two earned, on 10 hits with four strikeouts. Freshman Zack Winzer (Muskegon, Mich.) batted 2-for-3, while sophomore Bryson Campbell (Cool, Calif.) went 2-for-4.
Game 2: Elms 5, USMMA 1
The nightcap featured a pitcher's duel between Elms senior Andrew Sadowski (Northampton, Mass.) and USMMA sophomore Justus Martin (Eaton, Colo.), who held the opposition scoreless for five straight innings. Sadowski allowed just three hits through the first five innings, while Martin surrendered just three hits to the Blazers.
In the top of the sixth, the Mariners cracked the scoreboard as Campbell reached on an error, stole second, and then came around to score on an RBI single from junior Richard Kernan (Blythewood, S.C.) to stake USMMA to a 1-0 lead.
The Blazers responded in the bottom of the frame by plating five runs in the inning. Freshman Alex Hoss (Stafford Springs, Conn.) drew a leadoff walk, advanced on an error, and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Wadja to tie the game at 1-1. With runners on first and second, Gelzinis laced an RBI single to put Elms up 2-1. With the bases loaded, junior Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) scored on a passed ball, followed by an RBI groundout by Medeiros to extend the Elms lead to 4-1. Elms sophomore Zach Lawrence (Colchester, Conn.) delivered an RBI single to plate classmate Andy Vasquez (Queens, N.Y.) as the Blazers wrapped up the 5-1 victory.
Sadowski (2-1) held the Mariners to one run on four hits with three strikeouts to earn his second victory of the season. Zima and Gelzinis each went 2-for-3 from the plate.
Martin (0-1) took the loss, giving up three runs on four hits with a pair of strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work. Kernan led the Mariners from the dish, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
The Blazers will wrap up their run at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classis Thursday morning with a doubleheader against Rivier University. First pitch is slated for 9:00 a.m. USMMA faces Wabash in a single game Friday morning at 9:00 a.m.