FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 8, 2019) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy baseball team played a doubleheader against two different teams today on its penultimate day at the Gene Cusic Classic down in Florida. The Mariners won its opener over Saint John's (Minn.) by a 7-3 final, before dropping a quick game to Otterbein, 3-2, in the second game.
USMMA's record moves to 5-2 on the season, while SJU suffers its first loss of the season, dropping to 8-1, and Otterbein improves to 4-4.
In the first game, the Mariners jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but the Johnnies got two back in the top of the third. Merchant Marine answered back with three more in the bottom of the third to go ahead, 5-2. An RBI groundout by Saint John's made it 5-3 in the top of the fifth, but that's all the SJU was able to get across the rest of the day, as the Mariners added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth to close out the scoring.
Sophomore Alex Mesaros (Pittsburgh, Pa.) went 2-for-5 with two RBIs, while senior Jesse Reinebold (Sagamihara, Japan) was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and sophomore Vincenzo Alteri (Watertown, N.Y.) went 2-for-5 and also scored twice. Also knocking in runs for the Mariners were freshman Zac Skov (San Clemente, Calif.) and senior Tyler Mowry (Peachtree City, Ga.), while Skov, senior Kyle Cunningham (Panama City Beach, Fla.) and sophomore Jacob Kelly (Norfolk, Va.) all scored one run.
On the mound, freshman Garrett Aichele (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) got the start and earned the victory after hurling five innings, allowing three runs on just three hits with four strikeouts. Freshman reliever Billy Todd (Gastonia, N.C.) followed with two shutout innings, giving up two hits, and senior John Kelly Jr. (Apex, N.C.) earned the save with scoreless eighth and ninth innings with three Ks.
Against Otterbein, the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on an RBI double, but USMMA responded in the next half-inning with RBI singles by Alteri and Cunningham that scored junior Matt Mundorf (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and freshman Grand Corb (Katy, Texas).
Otterbein quickly tied it back up in the bottom of the third on an RBI groundout and then took the lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly. The Mariners failed to cash in on some chances down the stretch, including a bases-loaded situation in the top of the sixth and getting the leadoff runner on in the ninth, but going down on three-straight strikeouts to end the game.
The game lasted just 2:06, as the pitchers were moving along quickly. Junior Ben Kane (Huntington Beach, Calif.) suffered the loss after tossing seven innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts. In one inning of relief, classmate Garrick Colorado (Williamsburg, Va.) threw a 1-2-3 inning.
Up next, the Mariners will close out the Gene Cusic Classic with their rivalry matchup against Coast Guard tomorrow, Saturday, March 9. The two seven-inning games will be played at Terry Park #1 with the first pitch of the opening game scheduled for 9 a.m. Live stats will be available for both games with links on the USMMA Baseball Schedule Page.
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