FORT MYERS, FLA. -- The Defiance College baseball team wrapped up play at the Gene Cusic Classic with two losses to nationally-recognized Alvernia (Pa.) College on Friday.
In the opening contest, Defiance (4-5) dropped a 10-5 decision to the Golden Wolves (7-3).
Alvernia took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning, but a run-scoring single off the bat of sophomore Jude Neary (Toledo/Cardinal Stritch Catholic) that scored Ben Bucklew (Archbold) to tie the game at 1-1.
The Golden Wolves broke the game open with three runs in the third and four in the fifth to take an 8-1 advantage after 4.5 frames. The bottom of the fifth inning saw Defiance battle back. The scoring started on a sacrifice fly by Lucas Thomeier (Wickliffe) scored freshman Michael Reese (Constantine, Mich.) to make it an 8-2 game. Daniel Tomalak (Tecumseh, Mich./Clinton) scored on a wild pitch before Troy Konwinski (Allen Park, Mich.) knocked in Nate Kaffenbarger (DeGraff/Indian Lake) to cut the deficit to 8-4. To wrap up the scoring in the fifth, Tyler Weaver (Defiance) added a run-scoring single with a base knock through the left side, scoring Ben Bucklew (Archbold) to cut the deficit to three runs.
Alvernia got two of those runs back in the top of the sixth inning and were able to shut down the Defiance College offense in the final two frames as the Yellow Jackets drop their opener.
Junior Paris Creek (Bryan) started on the bump for DC, going just two innings and allowing three runs on four hits while walking five hitters. DC went through four relievers out of the bullpen, with Kody King (Cecil/Fairview) being the lone reliever to give scoreless innings, as he tossed the final 1.2 innings of the contest and allowed just one hit.
Neary led the Yellow Jackets, offensively, as he batted a perfect 3-for-3 with three singles, a walk, and an RBI. Kaffenbarger added a pair of hits, as well, as he went 2-for-4 and hit DC's lone extra-base hit, a double, as well as scoring a run. Bucklew also got on base twice with two walks and scored both times he reached base.
The second game saw the Yellow Jackets fall, 4-2, in a pitchers' duel to wrap up their stretch of eight games in five days.
Alvernia struck first with a leadoff walk, as he stole second and scored on a two-out base hit to left field that saw the Golden Wolves take a 1-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets took the lead in the top of the fourth, however, with a pair of runs. Sophomore Everett Kissel (Defiance/Tinora) tied the contest with a base-hit that scored Konwinski. During the next at bat, Neary gave Defiance the lead as a double-steal brought him across home plate to give DC a 2-1 edge.
The lead was shortlived, as Alvernia brought a run in with an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to make it a 2-2 game.
After Defiance left a runner on base in the fifth, Alvernia added two runs on a dropped pop fly by the Yellow Jackets that brought two runners acrosss and gave the Golden Wolves the 4-2 lead.
Defiance got a runner on base in each of the final two frames, but failed to get them across home plate as Defiance dropped their Florida finale.
Sophomore Jon Brown (Haskins/Otsego) had a great outing on the hill for DC, as he allowed two earned runs on five hits with five walks and five strikeouts. The loss drops his record to 2-1 on the young season. Reese came on to throw 1.1 innings of shutout relief, not allowing a hit but walking two and striking out a lone Golden Wolf.
Everett Kissell finished the afternoon batting 2-for-2 with a walk and an RBI for Defiance. Konwinski also reached base twice with a hit and a walk, while Tomalak finished with two bases on balls.
After a long bus trip gets the team back to Defiance, they will hit the road for another road contest on Tuesday, Mar. 13 as they head to Taylor, Ind. to take on Taylor University for a doubleheader. The opener is set for a 4 p.m. first pitch.