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College Baseball: Hawks' slide at 6 games

March 28, 2013|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The Hagerstown Community College baseball team has been living on a diet of cookies and orange juice lately.

For the last week, the Hawks have been giving blood — and lots of it.

The latest donation came on Thursday, as Frederick Community College came up with one big inning in each game of a doubleheader in a 7-1, 14-10 Maryland JuCo Conference sweep of the Hawks, pushing HCC’s losing streak to six games.

“For the last six games, one inning comes up and kills us,” said HCC coach Scott Jennings. “Your hands are tied when you are constantly coming from behind and trying to string hits together.”

On Thursday, those big innings came early and late in games, but were equally effective in hanging HCC (16-13, 0-2) out to dry.

In the opener, Frederick scored four runs in the seventh to extend a 3-1 game and put it out of reach.

In the nightcap, the Cougars (18-6, 4-0) — ranked No. 10 in the NJCAA Division I poll — unloaded a nine-run fourth to rally and take control.

“That’s the best thing about baseball,” said FCC coach Rodney Bennett. “When momentum starts, everyone starts producing. Of course, it can go against you, too.”

On this day, Frederick had momentum sitting in the third-base dugout with the Cougars.

In the opener, if HCC believed in omens, it was nailed with a bad one right from the beginning.

Frederick leadoff hitter Casey Clauss ripped the second pitch of the game off the throwing arm of Hawk’ starting pitcher Kevin Bair for a single. Bair threw six more pitches — all balls — before being lifted from the game for Thomas Rose.

“That put us in a spot today that we didn’t expect,” Jennings said.

It put the Hawks into scramble mode, but Rose more than came through in the emergency situation. Still, Frederick had the upper hand.

Frederick took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Josh Swirchak walked before Bair was lifted. Sam Crater greeted Rose with a grounder to first to advance the runners before a passed ball scored Clauss.

The Cougars got to Rose in the fourth, scoring a pair of runs for a 3-0 lead. Rose opened the door by issuing a leadoff walk to Crater before Brody Tennant ripped a double into the left-field corner. Devin Bell picked up the RBIs with a single to left.

HCC got a run back in the bottom of the fourth against Frederick starter Jared Knoll. Dylan Dunn led off with a single to left and took third when Walter hit a single to right that Crater misplayed to allow the runners to advance. C.J. Owings hit a sacrifice fly to center to make it a 3-1 game.

“We weren’t swinging the bat well,” Jennings said. “You have to give their pitcher credit. But in the first game, we were still in there but the last inning changed it all.”

The Cougars scored four runs in the seventh to knock the Hawks out. The inning was ignited by a Rose throwing error. Matt Kurellia highlighted the burst with a two-run single and Tennant and Justus Miller added RBI hits to seal the victory.

In the nightcap, each team capitalized early as HCC took a 4-3 lead in the first inning.

The Cougars loaded the bases immediately against HCC starter Dylan Schaeffer and scored using Tennant’s fielder’s choice, a Schaeffer wild pitch and Devin Bell’s RBI single for a 3-0 lead.

HCC roughed up Frederick starter Austin Hale, who left without recording an out in the second inning.

The Hawks strung together five hits in the first inning. Dunn hit an RBI single and Tyler Walter hit a single to center that went through Tennant’s legs to tie the score at 3. Owings singled to right to give HCC the 4-3 lead.

HCC chased Hale — who was replaced by Zach Sacoman — and took a 6-3 lead in the second on Dunn’s two-run single.

Frederick blew the lid off of the game with a nine-run fourth, sending 13 hitters to the plate against three HCC pitchers to take a 12-6 lead.  Clauss drove in three runs and Tennant had two RBIs in the inning.

HCC picked up a run in the fourth and three in the seventh to close the gap, but the Cougars partially offset the rallies with two of their own runs in the top of the seventh.

“These were big wins for us,” Bennett said. “We have depth in our pitching and they did their job.”

Clauss had five hits in the doubleheader and drove in four runs in the nightcap.

Dunn had three hits and drove in four runs for HCC in the nightcap, giving Jennings some hope for the future.

“We hit the ball well in the second game and that might mean we are ready to break out,” he said. “We need to win this weekend to stop the bleeding.”

Frederick 7-14, HCC 1-10
Game 1
Frederick    100    200    4    —    7    10    2
HCC    000    100    0    —    1    7    2
Knoll, Colletti (6) and Taylor. Bair, Rose (1), Kirby (7) and Dunn. WP — Knoll. LP — Bair.
Game 2
Frederick    300    900    2    —    14    17    3
HCC    420    100    3    —    10    11    0
Hale, Sacoman (2) and Harman. Schaeffer, Deshong (4), Partlow (4), Eyler (7) and Dunn. WP — Sacoman. LP — Schaeffer.

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