FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 10, 2018) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy baseball team took on its arch-rival Coast Guard in a doubleheader on Saturday on the Mariners' final day of the Cusic Classic down in Florida. After dropping the first game, 4-2, USMMA earned a 4-1 victory in the second game to earn a split. The Mariners' record moves to 6-2 on the season, while the Bears open the year 1-1.
Merchant Marine struck first in the opener, as freshman Alex Mesaros (Pittsburgh, Pa.) scored a run on an RBI double by classmate Vincenzo Alteri (Watertown, N.Y.) in the bottom of the first. Coast Guard answered right back in the next half-inning with two runs on a two-RBI single.
The Mariners tied the score up in the fourth on an RBI single by junior Reilly Cherry (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) that plated classmate Kyle Cunningham (Panama City Beach, Fla.), but once again the Bears struck back their next turn at the plate with an RBI double in the fifth. They added an insurance run on a homer in the top of the seventh before claiming the victory.
Alteri had a multi-hit game for the Mariners, going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. The Mariners' bats were limited to just six hits, as Coast Guard's sophomore starter Brett Sullivan earned the win after tossing six innings with two strikeouts and two walks. Freshman Lukas Caskey picked up a save with a scoreless seventh.
Senior Justus Martin (Eaton, Colo.) suffered the loss for Merchant Marine after lasting 5.1 innings and giving up three runs on 10 hits. In 1.2 innings of relief, freshman Quinton Heck (Massillon, Ohio) allowed one run on one hit with two strikeouts.
Coast Guard junior Will Stephens led all players in the game, as he went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Classmate Trey Rittenhouse scored twice in the affair.
In game two, the Mariners wasted little time in taking the lead that they eventually held until the end, as they scored all four of their runs in the top of the first. After a single by senior Jacob Sithong (Orlando, Fla.) and a walk by junior Jesse Reinebold (Granger, Ind.), senior Michael Barnes (Alexandria, Va.) blasted a two-run double to right to give USMMA a 2-0 lead.
Barnes would come around to score on an RBI fielder's choice by junior Tyler Mowry (Peachtree City, Ga.) and then two batters later Cunningham scored from third on an error by the Coast Guard pitcher.
Junior Andrew Spinnenweber (Pasadena, Md.) was brilliant in his outing, as he went the distance for the complete game victory. He allowed just one run in the seventh inning on four hits with 10 strikeouts.
Again the Mariners were held to just six hits in the game, with sophomore Matthew Austin (Rockledge, Fla.) having the squad's only multi-hit effort as he went 2-for-3 out of the nine-hole.
The Bears' junior starter Dustin Reeder lasted six innings and gave up four runs (two earned) on five hits with five strikeouts.
Up next, the Mariners are scheduled to face New Paltz this Wednesday, March 14, at 4:30 p.m. at Lower Roosevelt Field.
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