RECAP | Grizzlies Belt Six Home Runs, Blow Past Lions on Opening Day

Frank Podkul blasted four home runs in the season-opening double-header
Frank Podkul blasted four home runs in the season-opening double-header

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – The Franklin College baseball team put on an offensive display on their way to an opening day sweep of Penn St.-Behrend on Sunday (Feb. 25) afternoon.

Senior Frank Podkul belted four home runs and drove in seven runs on the day, which included a three-home run performance in game one. Ryan Bixler drove in six runs and Ryan Erlandson brought home four runs as Franklin took a 15-3 decision in game one and a 15-6 win in game two.

Game One: Franklin 15 – Penn St.-Behrend 3
Franklin put a crooked number on the board in their first trip to the plate. After an error brought Bixler home for the first run of the day, Podkul belted a long home run over the right center field wall to make it 3-0. An inning later, Bixler stretched the lead to 5-0 with a two-run double to left field.

Jarrod Smith stretched the lead to 6-0 with a sacrifice fly in the top of the third. The Lions got on the board in the top of the fifth, but Franklin would get back-to-back solo shots from Nick Wright and Podkul to make it 8-1 after five.

Franklin turned to the long ball to extend their lead in the sixth, getting a two-run blast from Bixler and a three-run shot from Podkul to blow the game wide open. Quenton Wellington capped the scoring for Franklin with a pinch hit two-run double in the bottom of the seventh.

Christian Sullivan (1-0) scattered seven hits and struck out five over six innings of one-run ball. Ben Sprinkle, Mitch Merica and Jackson White combined to close out the win.

Game Two: Franklin 15 – Penn St.-Behrend 6
Down by a run after an inning, the Grizzlies erased the early deficit thanks to back-to-back RBI doubles from Brandt Pawley and Erlandson to make it a 3-1 game. The Grizzlies added to the lead in the third when Alex Mis and Podkul scored on a two-out error.

The Lions cut the lead in half in their half of the third, but Franklin would get a run back in the fourth on a Sam Claycamp sacrifice fly. Podkul connected for a solo shot in the fifth and Erlandson made it an 8-3 game with an RBI single in the sixth to make it 8-6 Grizzlies.

Leading 9-6 going into the ninth, the Grizzlies put the game out of reach with a six-run frame. Drew Naumovich drove in two with a double and scored later in the inning on an Erlandson sacrifice fly. Jarrod Scored on an infield grounder before Wright capped the scoring with a two-run double.

Senior Aaron Leming (1-0) notched the win after walking three and fanning four over four innings of work. Jordan Clark worked the final two innings to pick up the save.

Franklin will make their home debut on Friday (Mar. 2), when they welcome the Britons of Albion College to John P. McDowell Field. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.