FT. MYERS, FLA. -- The Defiance College baseball team got its first two wins of the season with a doubleheader sweep of Swarthmore (Pa.) College, winning by the scores of 11-3 and 6-5, to begin its annual spring training trip to Ft. Myers, Fla.
The Defiance offense came up big in game one with 11 runs and 10 hits. Both teams plated a run in the first inning with Defiance's (2-3) run coming on a RBI-double by junior Glen Collier (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) that was set up by another double by sophomore Mike Gilliland (Napoleon) earlier in the inning.
The Yellow Jackets then took control of the game with a four-run second inning that included a two-RBI single by Collier to make the score 5-1. Swarthmore (1-6) got one of the runs back in the bottom half of the inning to narrow the gap to 5-2. The margin remained three runs until the top of the sixth when DC crossed home plate two more times on a two-RBI double by senior Zack Reed (Midland, Mich./Bullock Creek) increasing the advantage to 7-2. The Garnet recorded a run of their own in the bottom of the sixth, but DC still led by four runs headed into the seventh inning.
In the seventh, DC put the contest away with its second four-run inning of the game. Sophomore Troy Konwinski (Allen Park, Mich./Allen Park) drove in a pair of runs on a triple with runners at second and third. The Jackets later tallied two more scores on a two-RBI double by senior Dave Blanch (Alliston, Ont./Banting Memorial) to make the score 11-3. Swarthmore would get runners in scoring position at second and third base with no outs in the bottom of the inning, but the DC defense then came up with three straight outs to end the game and go on to the 11-3 final.
At the plate, the Yellow Jackets were led by Collier who finished three-of-four overall with a run scored and three RBI. Senior Mac Edwards (Kingston, Ont./Jefferson CC) was second with a pair of hits in three attempts to go along with two runs scored. Five other DC players each recorded a base hit in the win, including Blanch who went one-of-four with two RBI and a run scored.
On the mound, senior Nick Peters (Macomb, Mich./Eisenhower) pitched a complete game to post his first win of the season. He allowed three runs, one earned, on seven hits and struck out eight batters.
In game two, Swarthmore got on the board first in the top of the second inning on a RBI-double. But Defiance answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the frame thanks to a RBI-single by sophomore Grant Vickery (Bellevue) with bases loaded. The Jackets then took the lead with four runs in the fourth, highlighted by a two-RBI single by Gilliland with bases loaded again that also included a defensive error to clear the bases and made the score 5-1.
This time, it was the Garnet who rallied by scoring four runs in the top half of the fifth inning to even the game at 5-5. The game remained deadlocked at 5-5 headed into the bottom of the seventh when Collier became the potential game-winning run with a ground-rule double. Following an intentional walk and a wild pitch to put runners at second and third, the game ended on another wild pitch that allowed Collier to score from third to seal a 6-5 win.
The DC bats remained hot in the nightcap with 10 total hits. Four players recorded mult-hit games with Gilliand, Collier, Konwinski and sophomore Tyler Weaver (Defiance) each having two hits. Weaver finished two-of-two in addition to scoring two runs, while Konwinski went two-of-three. Gilliland and Collier both ended up two-of-four with Gilliand tallying two RBI and Collier adding a run scored.
Junior Cody Nelson (Clayton, Mich./Hudson) was credited with the win after pitching two innings of relief allowing no runs and just one hit. Blanch started the game for the Jackets and pitched five complete innings giving up five runs on eight hits and struck out five batters.
Defiance will return to action tomorrow (Tuesday, Mar. 7) with a single nine-inning game against Rockford (Ill.) University. The game is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in Ft. Myers, Fla.