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Falcons Open 2017 Campaign With Spilt Vs Fredonia State

Falcons Open 2017 Campaign With Spilt Vs Fredonia State

Falcons take game one 6-5; drop nightcap 16-1

Leesburg, Florida - The Fitchburg State University baseball team began its 2017 campaign on Saturday afternoon with a double header against Fredonia State University at the RussMatt Invitational Tournament. The Falcons took game one 6-5, but fell to the Blue Devils, 16-1, in the second contest.

Fitchburg State (1-1) returns to action in Winter Haven, Florida tomorrow when it faces Franklin & Marshall for a pair of games, starting at 9:30 a.m. Fredonia (3-3) will go up against Vassar tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.

Fitchburg State 6, Fredonia State 5 (Game 1)

The Falcons notched their first come-from-behind victory of the season, plating one run in each of the fifth and sixth innings to edge the Blue Devils, 6-5.

Freshman Brandon Lefebvre had himself quite the debut, driving in a game-high three RBIs on a 2-for-3 game at the plate. That includes a go-ahead triple in the sixth to give the Falcons their first win of the year.

After a scoreless start to the season, Fitchburg State got its offense going with a three-run second inning, doing all of its damage with two outs. In his first at-bat, and with the bases loaded, Lefebvre put his team up for the first time with a two-RBI single. In the next at-bat, freshman Andrew Curran crossed the plate on a wild pitch to give the Falcons the early 3-0 advantage.

Fredonia went on to put a run of its own across in the top of the third, but the Falcons got it back in the bottom of that inning when designated hitter Mike St. John drove in his first RBI of the year on a fielder's choice (4-1). 

The Blue Devils responded in a big-way during the fifth as back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. After a RBI ground out from, sophomore Kevin Yirinec, designated hitter Steve Zaprowski delivered a double to plate two and tie the game 4-4, who eventually came around to score later in the inning to give the visitors a one-run lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, Falcons newcomer Sean Maki helped the team knot the score, picking up his first hit in the Green & Gold with a double to get into scoring position with one out. The next batter, senior Nathan Littman, recoded his first single of the season to bring home Maki and tie the game, 5-5.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Lefebvre drove in his third run of the game, drilling a go-ahead triple to bring freshman Brendan O'Flaherty all the way home from first base (6-5).

The Blue Devils offense did not go down easily, making the defense work, recording a couple of fielder's choices. With two outs, Falcons starting hurler Andrew Mooney forced Joseph Coene to fly out, securing the 6-5 win.

Mooney recorded a complete game in his season opening victory, allowing nine hits and five runs while striking out four for the Falcons, while counterpart Zaprowski took the loss in two innings of work, giving up two runs on four hits for the Blue Devils.

Fitchburg State had seven of its starters record hits with Andrew Currie, Maki, and Littman each picking up one apiece at the top of the order. St. John and O'Flaherty added one hit each. For Fredonia State, junior Patrick Sheehan went 3-for-3 at the plate while senior Mike Prentice and Liam Kelly each recorded two hits and one run scored.

Fredonia State 16, Fitchburg State 1 (Game 2)

Fredonia avenged its game one loss in the second contest on the afternoon, scoring four or more in three innings and surrendering just two hits in the 16-1 victory.

The Blue Devils got it going at the plate early, with a RBI double from Jon Morrison and a RBI single by Zaprowski capping off a four-run frame for an early 4-0 lead after one inning of play.

Fredonia State upped its margin in the bottom of the second, batting around the lineup and scoring five more runs on four hits to stretch the lead to nine runs keyed by a pair of bases loaded walks.

The Green and Gold got on the board in the next half inning as O'Flaherty led off with a single before stealing second base and getting into scoring position. With two outs, Littman's grounder forced an error allowing O' Flaherty to come across for the Falcons first, and only run of the game (9-1).

After going hitless in the bottom of the third and fourth innings, the Blue Devils mimicked its second inning performance, scoring five runs to widen the lead to 14-1. Yirinec had the big-blow of the inning, driving in a pair of runs on a double, en-route to the 16-1 game two final. 

Fitchburg State was outhit 14-to-2 in game two, while Fredonia State hitters worked nine walks. Lefebvre joined O' Flaherty as the only Falcon hitters with base knocks.

Senior Donnell Hightower pitched two and one-third innings of solid work in relief for the flock, allowing no hits or earned runs and striking out four. For the Blue Devils, Michael Wilcox earned his second win of the year, allowing only two hits in five scoreless innings while striking out six. 

Release courtesy of Fitchburg State student journalist Kyle Prudhomme