WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- After letting an early lead slip away in the opener, the Carleton College baseball team recovered to earn a split with Crown College on Sunday afternoon. The Storm prevailed in game one, 8-7, while the Knights took the nightcap, 8-4.
Although the campuses for the two schools are located only about 60 miles apart, the squads ended up traveling 1,500 miles each way for a spring break twinbill.
In the opener, Carleton (4-3) built a 6-0 lead after the top of the first, only to watch things unravel in the third inning when a two-out error opened the floodgates. That miscues allowed the Storm to score six unearned runs and knot things up. Crown (1-3) added a run in the fifth and another in the sixth.
The Knights, who had not gotten a runner into scoring position since the first inning, tried to rally in the seventh. Singles by Chris Lasch (Fy./South Newfane, Vt./Northfield Mount Hermon), Wilson Battle (Fy./Salt Lake City, Utah/Skyline Senior), and Luke Curtis (Sr./Appleton, Wis./Appleton West) plus a walk to Ben Frerichs (Jr./Alexandria, Va./St. Stephens and St. Agnes) plated one run and loaded the bases with two out before Crown reliever Trey Widmier finally extinguished the rally to preserve the Storm’s 8-7 triumph.
Curtis and Keenan Moore (Fy./Minneapolis, Minn./De La Salle) had two hit apiece to pace the Knights. Max Lane (So./Clarion, Pa./Clarion) absorbed the loss despite allowing only one earned run over 5.0 innings on the hill.
In game two, each time that Crown scored, Carleton answered immediately. When the Storm plated a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, the Knights responded with five tallies in the bottom of the frame, including two-run singles by both Frerichs and Matt Rubin (So./Hawthorne, N.Y./Westlake).
Crown scored again in the top of the third, and Carleton countered without delay with a run of its own. The same story played out in the fifth inning. After another unearned tally for the Storm, the Knights scratched out two more runs for the 8-4 result.
Sean Kelly (Sr./Washington, D.C./Woodrow Wilson) worked 5.0 innings and allowed only two earned runs in notching his first win of the season. Curtis tossed 2.0 hitless frames of relief.
Griffin Bolte (Jr./Portland, Ore./Lincoln) was the lone Knight with a multi-hit effort, going 2-for-2 with a walk, and Frerichs finished with a game-high three RBI.
“Today was a little rough after a nice start to the trip yesterday,” admitted Carleton head coach Aaron Rushing. “The guys played hard, but we struggled on balls in the air with the wind. That proved to be the difference in a tight first game. We bounced back nicely in game two, got a lead and played well to the finish.”
Carleton will face the University of Chicago on Monday, March 20 for a 9-inning game beginning at 11:00 a.m. EDT