AUBURNDALE, Fla. – The Franklin College baseball team stayed perfect on their week-long spring break trip down in Florida on Tuesday (Mar. 27) afternoon, racking up a pair of wins over Union College (N.Y.).
The Grizzlies (14-1) used another late-game rally to take the opener, 8-3. Game two was pushed to extra innings, where the Grizzly bats came alive to score six runs and pull away for an 8-2 victory.
Frank Podkul had a team-high five RBI, which included the go-ahead hit in the fifth inning of game one. Jarrod Smith racked up four hits on the afternoon and freshman Alex Reinoehl starred for the Grizzlies out of the bullpen, throwing 5 1/3 innings of scoreless ball.
Game One: Franklin 8 – Union 3
The relentless Grizzly offense wasted no time getting started, hanging a pair of runs on the board in the bottom of the first on an RBI single from Sam Claycamp and a sacrifice fly from Podkul. One inning later, Smith ripped a double into left field that scored Drew Naumovich from first to make it a 3-0 game.
Union would draw even in the top of the fifth on a three-run home run from Jack Koch, but the Franklin offense would respond in clutch fashion in the bottom of the inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Podkul ripped a pitch down the left field line that brought Ryan Erlandson, Ryan Bixler and Claycamp home. Podkul would come in to score one batter later on an RBI single from Alex Mis to make it 7-3.
Claycamp added an insurance run with an RBI ground out in the eighth before Reinoehl made the lead stand with a perfect seventh inning to close things out.
Game Two: Franklin 8 – Union 2 (8 inn.)
Pitching took center stage at the start of game two as Mitchell Caster and Drew Johnson tossed up bagels through the first three innings. Union opened the scoring with a fourth inning sacrifice fly, but the Grizzlies would answer in the fifth.
With one out in the inning, Jackson Freed blasted a pitch over the left field wall for his first long ball of the year. Later in the inning, Brandt Pawley put the Grizzlies on top with a two-out RBI double that scored Smith all the way from first.
Union would draw even with a run in the fifth and after two scoreless innings that followed, the Grizzlies were off to extras for the first time this season. Franklin loaded the bases with one out in the eighth before a miscue on a Nick Wright grounder allowed Pawley and Erlandson to score the go-ahead runs. Podkul and Smith added run-scoring singles later in the inning and Naumovich capped the scoring by swiping home on a double steal.
That proved to be more than enough for Reinoehl (3-0), who worked a spotless eighth to earn the win. The freshman hurler allowed just one hit over 3 1/3 innings of work in relief of Caster.
Franklin closes out their Florida trip with one more game on Wednesday (Mar. 28) morning. The Grizzlies take on Colby College, with first pitch set for 10:00 a.m.