RICHMOND, Ind. – The Franklin College baseball team continued an eight-game road trip on Monday (Apr. 22) night, taking on the Earlham Quakers in two critical Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) contests for both teams.
It was all Grizzlies (19-11, 8-4 HCAC) in both contests, as Franklin followed a white-hot offense and stifling pitching performances to sweep the Quakers (17-14, 7-7 HCAC) by scores of 14-2 and 9-1, respectively.
Sophomore catcher Logan Demkovich had a team-high five hits as Franklin tuned up Earlham pitching for 30 hits. On the mound, Franklin pitchers allowed just nine total hits on their way to a sweep of their conference foes for the second straight year.
Game One: Franklin 14 – Earlham 2
With two outs and runners in scoring position in the first, Sam Claycamp raced home on a wild pitch for the game's opening run. One inning later, the Grizzlies added to their lead with three straight singles to open the inning with Logan Demkovich knocking in Alex Mis to put the Grizzlies up by a pair.
The first two innings proved to be just a primer for the Grizzly offense, as Franklin put the game out of reach in their third trip to the plate. Each of the first three batters reached base, loading the bases for Ryan Bixler and he would make the Quakers pay with a two-run double into the left center field gap. Mis followed with a run scoring single and in his first game back in the lineup, Jarrod Smith made it an 8-0 game with a towering three-run home run.
Bixler plated his third run of the game with a single in the sixth and added another run in the eighth with a run-scoring fielder's choice. Demkovich put the finishing touches on the blowout with a two-run shot in the ninth, his first career home run.
Jordan Clark (2-0) dominated the Quakers over six innings of work, allowing one earned run on three hits with 10 strikeouts. Ben Sprinkle worked the final three innings of two-hit ball to earn his first save of the year.
Game Two: Franklin 9 – Earlham 1
Just two batters into the nightcap, the Grizzlies jumped on the board when Drew Naumovich knocked in Quenton Wellington with a double. It was the start of a five-run first inning with Claycamp, Bixler, Smith and Demkovich driving in runs to make it 5-0 Franklin after half an inning.
Wellington padded the lead with an RBI single in the third, but the Quakers used a mini-rally to get on the board in their half of the third. But the Grizzlies were able to limit the damage to one run and keep the Earlham offense in check the rest of the night. Nick Wright added a run with a triple in the sixth while Smith and Demkovich knocked in their second runs of the game in the top of the ninth.
Aaron Leming (5-1) took over for starter Krae Sparks in the third inning and tossed a gem in relief. The senior scattered just three hits and struck out eight over the final 6 2/3 innings, walking just three batters along the way.
The Grizzlies are back in action on Tuesday (Apr. 23) night, heading to Fort Wayne, Ind. for a twin bill against St. Francis University (Ind.). First pitch of game one is set for 4:00 p.m.