Widener Spoils USMMA Opening Day with Walk-Off Win
Fort Myers, FL – The USMMA baseball team scored four runs in the first inning of the 2013 season but Widener ultimately claimed a 6-5 victory Sunday afternoon following a wild ninth inning. Alex Barclay found a hole on the left side of the infield for a pinch-hit two-run single in the game's final at-bat. Cameron Stadele (Alpharetta, GA) pitched a superb game for the Mariners after taking the mound to the start the fourth inning. The sophomore tossed five innings while striking out six batters without issuing a walk and surrendering only one run.
Merchant Marine (0-1) started the game with the first four batters reaching safely. Andrew MacKinnon (Buffalo, NY), Warren Hartmann (Wyckoff, NJ), and Danny Collins (Sleepy Hollow, NY) registered three straight singles after the leadoff man reached on an error. Hartmann and Collins both picked up a RBI with their hit while Collins finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate. Jake Martin (San Diego, CA) slashed a single down the right field line to make it 3-0 and Nicholas Kopacka's (Saugus, CA) fielder's choice gave USMMA its fourth run of the opening inning.
Widener (1-2) had six base runners in its first two turns at the plate before breaking onto the scoreboard in the third inning. The Pride was held off the score sheet in the second inning thanks to Nicholas Dimas (Keller, TX) gunning down a runner trying to score with a frozen rope from right field. However, in the third inning Alec O'Dell doubled to straight away center field to plate a pair of runs and came around to score on a Matt Hone double to left. Mariner starter Timothy Arner (Allentown, PA) limited the damage from there with back-to-back outs to end his day.
Robert Barth picked up the complete game win for Widener and held USMMA without another run until the final inning. The Pride found themselves still down 4-3 in the eighth with two outs and a runner in scoring position. Stadele would register a strikeout but the ball would bounce to the backstop to extend the inning. Michael Riverso pounded an infield single into the ground to knot the game at 4-4 heading into the ninth.
The Mariners would then start a two-out rally as Martin and Kopacka both singled to put runners at the corners, leading head coach Michael Notebaert to put on a delayed steal. Barth would throw the ball into center field allowing pinch-runner Hunter Titus (Granbury, TX) to scamper home and give Merchant Marine a 5-4 edge.
The Pride worked a walk and dropped a bunt single to star their half of the ninth before Collins was moved to the pitcher's mound. Collins walked the first batter he faced leaving him with a bases loaded jam. The junior nearly got the save and put the pressure on Widener with a strikeout and a fielder's choice, which cut down the runner heading home. But that set the stage for Barclay's game winner as USMMA suffered a 6-5 setback in the first game of the Gene Cusic Classic.
The Mariners will return to the field tomorrow at 10:00 am for a clash against Alvernia.