WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Franklin College head baseball coach Lance Marshall reached a career milestone on Sunday (Mar. 24) afternoon, recording his 500th career win in the first of two games against Saint Joseph's College of Maine.
In the opening contest, the Grizzlies (9-4) fell into an early 4-0 hole before the offense led a furious comeback that led to a 9-6 win. Game two didn't feature near as many offensive fireworks, but rather a pitcher's duel that went in favor of the Monks (12-2), 3-1. Both games were played as seven-inning contests.
Game One: Franklin 9 – Saint Joseph's (Me.) 6
The Grizzly bats struggled to get going, managing just one hit over the first three innings while the Monks opened up a 4-0 lead with two runs in both the second and third innings, respectively. The drought ended in the top of the fourth inning, starting with a two-run triple by Drew Naumovich that cut the deficit in half. One batter later, Naumovich would score on an Alex Mis ground out and Quenton Wellington tied things up later in the inning with a single to right field.
The Monks jumped back in front in their half of the fifth inning, giving them a lead they would hold until the final inning when Franklin would rely on some late-game heroics to seal the win. With two outs and Wellington on first, Nick Wright kept the game alive with a single that moved the runner to third. Wellington would tie the game on the next batter, scoring on a passed ball to knot things up at five.
After two straight walks loaded the bases, Jordan Crouse was summoned from the bench to pinch hit. The sophomore outfielder would pay dividends, smoking a pitch over the wall for a grand slam, the second of his career that gave Franklin their first lead of the day. The Monks would get a run in the seventh, but Ethan Adams (3-0) would retire the side in the inning to close out the victory.
Game Two: Saint Joseph's (Me.) 3 – Franklin 1
Down by a run after one-half inning, Wellington brought Franklin back to even with a lead-off long ball to open the bottom of the inning. The Grizzlies would manage three hits in the inning but were only able to push the one run across.
The rest of the game, Grizzly bats were flummoxed by Saint Joseph's starter Matt Bergeron (4-0). Franklin was able to muster one hit over the final six innings while the Monks collected runs in the third and fifth innings to collect the win.
Making his second career start, freshman Nick Elmendorf (0-2) battled through five innings of five-hit ball. The Indianapolis, Ind.-native walked five and struck out a career-high six on 74 pitches. Mitch Merica allowed one hit over the final two innings of work.
The Grizzlies get back at it on Monday (Mar. 25) afternoon, taking on perennial powerhouse Wisconsin-Whitewater. First pitch from Florida is set for 1:15 p.m.