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Fitchburg State Splits a Doubleheader with Vassar to Open Spring Break Trip

Fitchburg State Splits a Doubleheader with Vassar to Open Spring Break Trip

AUBURNDALE, Fla. – The Fitchburg State University baseball team opened its Spring Break trip to Florida with a non-conference doubleheader against Vassar College, splitting the twin bill in action from Lake Myrtle Park. Fitchburg State captured the first game 5-3, before being edged by Vassar 2-0 in nine innings in the nightcap.

Game 1 - Fitchburg State 5, Vassar 3
Fitchburg State scored two runs in both the third and sixth innings to take the lead and add insurance to pick up the win in Vassar's season opener, as Tommy Parsons earned the win for the Falcons with Tyler Smith picking up the save for the Falcons.

Vassar (1-1) jumped out quickly, as sophomore second baseman Eric Strickland started his season with a two-out, two-run triple over the first base bag to score Denis Shanagher and Brooks English. Shanagher started the inning with a single up the middle, followed by an English walk to start the rally.

The Green and Gold responded with a run in the top of the second, and took the lead in the third inning on an RBI single from Robert Lewis. Vassar put runners on first and second base in the bottom half of the third on a walk by Nick Johnson and a single from Strickland, but senior Cory Wuenschell flied out to end the threat.

Fitchburg State added to its lead with two more runs in the top of the sixth, but Vassar nearly made a comeback in the seventh. Brad Kendall led off with a single, followed by an infield hit by Shanagher, which allowed Kendall to get to third.

Sophomore Bobby Kinne drove in Vassar's third run of the game with two outs, and Nick Johnson was hit by a pitch to put the tying run on base. The rally would come to an end though, as Smith nailed down the save for the Falcons.

Strickland was 2-for-4 with two RBI, Cory Wuenschell connected on a double and Shanagher also posted two singles and a stolen base. Vassar starter Jonathan Hong allowed five runs over 5.1 innings of work, and freshman Jesse Mulham allowed just one hit in his 1.2 innings of relief. Lewis led Fitchburg State with three hits.

Game 2 – Vassar 2, Fitchburg State 0 (9 innings)
Nick Johnson broke a scoreless tie in the top of the ninth inning with an RBI double, and Trent Berg and Johnny Mrlik shut down the Falcon lineup in the first win of the season for Vassar. Both starters were great throughout the contest, as Evan Meleedy and Berg battled back and forth, as the two teams combined for just seven hits all game.

Berg went five innings in his first start of the season, surrendering one hit and six walks while striking out five hitters before handing the ball over to Mrlik. The senior was equally impressive, going four innings in relief while giving up just one single and fanning four batters while earning the win.

In the seventh inning Fitchburg State put a runner on third base with two outs, but Mrlik induced a ground ball to get out of the inning. In the ninth inning, English singled with one out and went to second on a walk by Kinne. Johnson stepped to the plate and smashed a 0-2 fastball to left-center to put VC up 1-0, scoring Kinne from second. Strickland was walked intentionally, and freshman Taylor Smach drew a walk to make the game 2-0.

Vassar had five players with a hit, including the first collegiate base knock for Smach and a bunt single in the third by Matt Hernandez. Hernandez and Strickland were both great up the middle defensively, as the Brewers committed no errors over the 16 innings of baseball Saturday. Meleedy went 6.2 innings for FSU, allowing three hits and no runs along with striking out six VC hitters. (Recap courtesy of Vassar College Sports Information)