KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Keene State College baseball team fell victim to the big inning in Friday evening's season-opening doubleheader, as Coe College (Iowa) posted 10-3 and 4-2 wins over the Owls at Osceola Heritage Park.
- Keene State: 0-2
- Coe: 9-0
How It Happened - Game 1
The Kohawks, who are located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and a member of the American Rivers Conference, scored in all but one inning and pulled away late by scoring six times in the final three frames. Jacob Burns put Coe up 1-0 with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first, but the Owls responded, tying the game in their half of the second after consecutive singles from Tyler Gammie and John Tarascio preceded an RBI groundout from Ryan Linehan. The teams continued to answer each other, as the Kohawks nudged back in front after a walk and a balk allowed Isaac Evans to reach second, and he eventually scored after Kevin DeLaney's RBI base hit, making it 2-1. However, KSC immediately answered when Sam Czel singled, stole second, and came home on a base knock from Mac Struthers. Tied at two after three, Coe began pulling away, as they started the top of the fourth with three straight hits and took a 4-2 advantage. Keene State got one back without the benefit of a hit, as Tarascio was hit by a pitch, stole second and eventually scored on Linehan's sac fly, but the Kohawks put up two more in their half of the fifth for a 6-3 lead. The Owls never seriously threatened after that, and Coe put the game out of reach with three more runs in the seventh.
Jake Morris (0-1) started on the mound for KSC and went the first 4 2/3 innings, striking out three.
How It Happened - Game 2
The Owls got off to a flying start in the nightcap, as Czel took Kohawk starter Matthew Mittelmark deep for his second career home run to lead off the game, but a three-run fourth for Coe proved to be the deciding factor in the contest. Daniel Berger erased KSC's early lead with a run-scoring single in the Kohawks' half of the first inning, but the Owls edged back out in front (2-1) in the third thanks to another spark from Czel, who walked, stole second, and scored on Struthers' base hit. Keene State had a chance to add to their lead in the fourth after Tarascio reached third with only one out, but a strikeout and bouncer to second later in the frame stranded the bases loaded. Coe capitalized right after, as Riley LeGrand singled, swiped second, and then scored to tie the game after Nolan Arp's base hit. KSC starter Greg Poggioli departed with one out in the fourth, but the Kohawks greeted reliever Shawn O'Donnell with three consecutive singles that made it 4-2. The Owls were held in check by Mittelmark and Andrew Schmit after that, as the only baserunner over the remainder of the contest came when Connor Longley was plunked in the fifth. O'Donnell gave KSC one last chance by whiffing two in the sixth, but the Owls were sent down in order in the top of the seventh.
Poggioli (0-1) was dealt the loss after allowing three runs over 3 1/3 innings.
Around the Horn
- The doubleheader kicked off a stretch where Keene State will play 10 games over eight days in Florida during Spring Break. Coe concluded their time in the Sunshine State with their ninth straight win.
- It was the first ever meeting between the two schools.
- Czel's homer was his first since April 8, 2017 at UMass Dartmouth.
- Keene State takes on King's College (Pa.) tomorrow, March 9 at 12:30 pm in Auburndale, Fla.
- Coe is off until March 16 when they visit Illinois College for two starting at 12:00 pm.