The Mercyhurst North East Saints baseball team opened the season on Sunday as they took on Frederick Community College in a doubleheader. In nail-biting, extra innings action, the Saints dropped both games 3-2 and 4-3, respectively, with both games going eight innings.
MNE starting pitcher Jack Tumulty shook off a few early walks, to settle in for the Saints, pitching into the fourth inning, giving up two runs and two hits, while striking out four. Freshman Ryan Rapp then threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings for Saints allowing no hits, while fanning two. Sophomore Nate McKenrick then took the ball for MNE, throwing a scoreless seventh frame before allowing a single in the bottom of the eighth to FCC's Josh Greenberg that ended the game.
In the second inning, FCC got on the board after a lead-off walk to Thomas Gonzalez, followed by a two out single by Hayden Kissel to score Gonzalez. The Saints got on the board in the top of the fourth inning after freshman Kyle Shingledecker drew a one out walk. Shingledecker moved into scoring position on a passed ball, before Luke Baranchak singled through the right side to score Shingledecker from second base. FCC answered in the bottom of the fourth after another lead-off walk to Gonzalez, followed by another two-out single by Kissel allowed him to score. In the top of the fifth inning, the Saints tied the game after freshman Aaron Pawlak led off the frame with a single, before a Nick Petrolla single allowed him to go first-to-third. Then with one out, a Brandon Scheidemantle fly ball to right field was misplayed by the right fielder, allowing Pawlak to score from third.
The game would remain in a 2-2 tie until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Greenburg singled to shallow left field, allowing Brady Harju to score from third base and give FCC the victory. Nate McKenrick took the loss for the Saints, with Antonio Bianchini knotting the win for FCC.
In game two of the afternoon, FCC would get on the board early, as back-to-back doubles by Jared Pine and Jonathan Sanchez to lead off the game, followed up by an Eric Naylor single, would get the Cougars out to a 2-0 lead on the Saints. MNE starting pitcher, Jacob Harsany would induce a groundball double play, followed a ground out to second base to minimize the damage for the Saints in the first. The Saints would answer in the top of the second inning as freshman Robert Korff led off the inning with a single. After Brandon Scheidemantle was hit by a pitch, sophomore Jason Swope would draw a walk to load the bases. An Aaron Pawlak line drive to center field was misplayed, allowing all three runs to come around to score, putting the Saints up 3-2 in the ballgame.
In the bottom of the second inning, FCC's Mitchell Long would lead off the inning with a walk, followed by two singles by Josh Greenberg and Jared Pine which would score a run. Harsany then got into a groove, retiring the next seven batters in order. Over four innings, Harsany scattered four hits, allowing three runs, while fanning two Cougar batters. Freshman Joe Gammon would take the ball next for the Saints, throwing a perfect three innings, before getting into some trouble in the bottom of the eighth. After back-to-back two out singles by Sanchez and Naylor, freshman Dan Klase was brought into the game for the Saints. After an intentional walk to Brady Harju, FCC's Vince Altopiedi would take Klase's first pitch fastball back up the middle to walk it off for the Cougars. James Beasley would receive the win for FCC, after going three scoreless innings in relief, while Klase earned the loss for MNE. Sophomore Tyler Cannon shined at the plate for the Saints, going 2-4.
The Saints will return to the diamond this weekend as they travel to Martinsville, Virginia to take on Patrick Henry Community College in a four-game set, before heading to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for their spring break trip.