FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 9, 2019) – The USMMA baseball team completed its Spring Break trip down at the Gene Cusic Classic on Saturday with a split of a doubleheader with arch-rival Coast Guard at Terry Park Field #1. The Mariners won the opener, 4-2, before letting a big lead slip in the second game and falling, 9-8. Merchant Marine's record moves to 6-3 on the season, while the Bears open the year 1-1.
In the first game, senior Andrew Spinnenweber (Pasadena, Md.) got the starting nod for Merchant Marine and picked up the victory after hurling six innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts. Classmate Kyle Cunningham (Panama City Beach, Fla.) earned his third save of the season with a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh inning, striking out the final two batters that he faced to secure the Mariners' win.
Coast Guard opened the scoring with a pair of doubles in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead, but the Mariners responded with two runs in the third by way of a double by senior Jesse Reinebold (Sagamihara, Japan) that plated junior Matt Mundorf (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and sophomore Vincenzo Alteri (Watertown, N.Y.).
USMMA took advantage of a costly error by the Bears that allowed the leadoff batter in the fourth, freshman Zac Skov (San Clemente, Calif.), to reach base. With one out, senior Tyler Mowry (Severna Park, Md.) brought Skov home with an RBI fielders' choice. Mowry also made it to second on the same play after another Coast Guard error. The next batter, senior Reilly Cherry (Coeur d'Alene, Idaho), knocked Mowry in with a single to give Merchant Marine a 4-1 lead.
The Bears got one run back in the bottom of the fourth, and it could've been more if not for a gun-down at the plate by Mowry from right field on the same play that was the last out of the inning.
Spinnenweber allowed only one more baserunner over the fifth and sixth inning before Cunningham came in to close out the game quickly in the seventh.
In the second game, with a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning, sophomore Alex Mesaros (Pittsburgh, Pa.) hit the Mariners' first home run of the season, a grand slam to make it 8-2. After a quick fifth inning, things unraveled for USMMA, as two costly errors allowed Coast Guard to score six runs and tie the game up at 8-8.
The Bears took the lead in the top of the 7th on a wild pitch, and the Mariners had a great chance to answer with the bases loaded and one out during their last licks, but hit into a game-ending double play.
Mesaros finished the game going 2-for-5 with five RBIs and two runs. Mundorf was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Reinebold knocked in a run, while also scoring one. Alteri and Cunningham both scored twice, while freshman Garrett Aichele (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) came across to score one run.
On the mound, sophomore starter Joe Raab (Edwardsburg, Mich.) got a no-decision, as he finished with 5.2 innings pitched, eight runs (just three earned) on seven hits with nine strikeouts. Junior Garrick Colorado (Williamsburg, Va.) suffered the loss.
Up next, Merchant Marine is scheduled to take on New Paltz in the Mariners' home-opener this Wednesday, March 13, beginning at 4 p.m. at Lower Roosevelt Field. Live stats and a live video feed of the game will be available with links on the USMMA Baseball Schedule Page.
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