AUBURNDALE, Fla. – In their final tune-up before Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) play gets underway, the Franklin College baseball team closed out a perfect spring break trip with their fourth straight win on Wednesday (Mar. 28) afternoon.
Franklin (15-1) jumped out to an early six-run lead and never looked back against Colby College, taking down the Mules 14-7 to continue one of the greatest starts in the history of the program.
Senior Frank Podkul had two hits, scored three times and drove in five runs for Franklin, three coming on his team-leading sixth home run of the year. Jarrod Smith drove in four while Sam Claycamp led the team with four hits on the afternoon.
Franklin plated the first run of the game in the top of the second on an RBI ground out from Brandt Pawley. It turned out to be just the start of the Grizzly bats warming up, as the team exploded for five runs the next inning.
With two on and a run out, Podkul smoked a double into the left center field gap, plating two and stretching the lead to 3-0. Three batters later, Franklin doubled their lead when Smith launched a ball over the left field wall for his first round-tripper of the year and a 6-0 lead.
Colby got on the board in the bottom of the fifth, but Franklin would answer in the seventh with an RBI fielder's choice from and a sac fly off the bat of Ryan Erlandson. The Mules would get within 9-6 after two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth, but the Grizzly bats would put the game out of reach in the final inning.
Claycamp singled home Erlandson and Ryan Bixler with nobody out. Two batters later, Podkul added the cherry on top with a three-run blast to cap the scoring for the Grizzlies.
Freshman Connor Morton (1-0) was brilliant in picking up his first career win in his second start. Morton faced the minimum over the first 4 2/3 innings and saw his day end after seven innings of five-hit ball with three strikeouts. Alex Reinoehl capped off a dominant stretch in Florida by picking up his first career save after 1 1/3 innings of work to close things out.
Franklin is set to open conference play on Saturday afternoon, when they welcome the Transylvania Pioneers to John P. McDowell Field for a pair of games. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m.