Senior Paul Griffin pitched game one against Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Friday
LAKELAND, Fla. — Anxious to respond from a two-game sweep against Madonna, the Olivet Nazarene University baseball team had a tough test versus an undefeated Mt. Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio) squad. In game one against the Cougars, the Tigers couldn’t awaken the bats and managed only three hits, losing 3-1. In game two against a struggling Clearwater Christian College (Fla.) team, ONU got back in the win column with a 16-8 defeat of the Cougars.
Game one showcased senior lefty Paul Griffin (Pekin, Ill.) (0-2) who threw a complete game for the Tigers (8-7), allowing three runs — two earned — off 11 hits. He also struck out four batters and walked one.
Justin Brown (1-0) started for the Cougars (3-0) and allowed only one run off three hits in a complete game performance. He struck out eight and walked three batters.
Through the first two and one-half innings, there were only two hits by either team. In the bottom of the third, Mt. Vernon broke into the scoring column when Andrew Fila singled to score Sterling Harpst, and he led off the inning with a double. The Cougars added another in the fourth off a Jake Dickerson RBI single. In the Tigers half of the fifth, Aaron King (Pekin, Ill.) pinch-hit and singled. Josh Altmann (Homer Glen, Ill.) singled, and a Justin Fahy (Fargo, N.D.) sacrifice fly scored pinch-runner Stefan Sauder (Morton, Ill.) after a wild-pitch advanced the runners. Mt. Vernon added an insurance run in the sixth when Andrew Fila brought in Cory Brown for his second RBI of the day.
Ryan Kern (Bloomington, Ill.) managed a hit along with King and Altmann. For the Cougars, Fila and Harpst went 3-for-3, and Dickerson went 2-for-2. Both teams left numerous runners on base, six for the Tigers and nine for the Cougars.
Game two featured a new opponent for the Tigers, Clearwater Christian College (5-17). Junior Jonathan Fightmaster (Bourbonnais, Ill.) (3-1) pitched five innings allowing four runs — two earned — off seven hits. Freshman Garrett Saunders (Seffner, Fla.) gave up four runs off three hits and walked four in 1/3 innings of work. Matt Webber (Kankakee, Ill.) came in relief and struck out two batters. Kevin Lasowski (Schererville, Ind.) pitched the final inning, striking out one and giving up two hits.
Taylor Hill (0-1) started for Clearwater, and went four innings and allowed 11 runs — 10 earned — off 11 hits. Noel Thomas finished the game allowing five runs — three earned — off four hits.
Both teams combined for 27 hits, seven errors and 21 runners left on base in game two. The Tigers also stole 12 bases, and there were six batters hit-by-pitch. In the first inning alone, eight runs were scored as Clearwater took advantage of three hits and two errors to score three in the first. Reidy and Felten RBIs got things going for the Cougars. In the bottom of the inning, the Tigers scored five with two outs. The Tigers had six singles to score five base runners and left two more on base. ONU started a trend in the first inning as they scored every inning against Clearwater. They tacked on five more over the next two innings. They used three more singles to aid in building a 10-3 lead.
Fahy scored Haver in the fourth, and the Tigers added four runs in the fifth. Lasowski brought home two when he singled, and Caleb Gulledge (Spring Arbor, Mich.) singled for an RBI. Clearwater scored four of their own in the sixth to make it 15-8, but it was too little too late as the Tigers brought home Sauder off another Lasowski single to make it 16-8.
Lasowski finished 4-for-5 with five RBIs and two runs. Kern went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs. Altman had three hits, one RBI and two runs. Cody Haver (Valparaiso, Ind.) added two hits, one RBI and two runs.
For Clearwater, Joel Felten went 5-for-5 with one RBI. Jake Reidy had two hits, three RBIs and two runs. Jefte Velez had two hits and two runs. Caleb Jordan had one hit, run and RBI.
ONU will play Mt. Vernon Nazarene and Clearwater Christian again on Saturday but in reverse order starting at 1 p.m. (EST) and 4 p.m. (EST).