FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Eastern Nazarene College baseball team posted a 1-1 record on the first day of the 2016 season, upending Finlandia 12-2 and narrowly falling to Rockford 3-2 Saturday at Terry Park as part of the Gene Cusic Classic.
The Lions progress to 1-1 on the year with the results. Finlandia dips to 4-1 overall while the Regents improve to 1-0 on the season.
Jeremy Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) notched a pair of hits, two RBIs and scored one run on the day. Joe Commesso (Marshfield, Mass.) finished with two base knocks and two RBIs in his first action for the Lions. Nick Story (Gilbert, Ariz.) recorded a pair of hits, two runs and a stolen base while Andrew Santora (Middle Village, N.Y.) landed two base knocks, drove in an RBI and swiped a base.
In the opening contest of the spring, Eastern Nazarene prevailed over Finlandia 12-2 in a battle of Lions.
Eastern Nazarene's offense erupted for four runs in the bottom of the second inning to grab a 4-0 lead. John Greenlee (San Marcos, Calif.) and Commesso raked back-to-back RBI doubles to start the scoring. With two runners on base, Jeremy Wagner laced a triple to left center to score Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Anthony Esposito (Mount Royal, N.J.).
Eastern Nazarene tacked on a run in the third to widen the gap to 5-0 as Commesso sliced a single down the left field line to drive in Story from second base.
Eastern Nazarene plated one run in the home half of the seventh to extend its advantage to 6-0. Connor Simpson (Haverhill, Mass.) scooted home after advancing to third on a wild pitch.
Finlandia got on the board in the top of the eighth, cutting the deficit to 6-2. Victor Pichardo scored as Patrick Coles stole second before Coles stole third and crossed the dish on a single to right by Luke Paul.
Eastern Nazarene doubled its run-total with six runs in the bottom of the frame. Jose Arebalo (Brentwood, Calif.) and Jeremy Wagner both scored as Kurt Picarelli (Montrose, N.Y.) reached on an error. Colton Rice (Mesa, Ariz.) followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Picarelli from third. As Greenlee swiped second base, Simpson trotted across the dish on an error.
Later in the inning, Justin Calloway (Moore, Okla.) hoisted a sacrifice fly to right field to allow Greenlee to tag up and score. After a walk to load the bases, Arebalo drew a base-on-balls to plate Anthony Misciagna (Massapequa, N.Y.).
Brent Houle (Westfield, Mass.) tossed seven shutout innings and struck out four batters in his first start of the season. Joel DeFreitas (New Bedford, Mass.) pitched one inning of relief and recorded one strikeout. Rookies Kenny Sorensen (Quincy, Mass.) and Brandon Imonti (Tewksbury, Mass.) combined to slam the door in the ninth inning.
In its second game of the afternoon, Eastern Nazarene suffered a 3-2 setback to Rockford.
The Regents opened the scoring in the bottom of the second, scoring two runs to snag a 2-0 edge. Evan Frantini crossed the plate on a single to center off the bat of Devin Standard before Austin Smith scored on a fielding error.
The Lions trimmed the margin in half with a run in the top of the third frame, 2-1. Sam Danis (Uxbridge, Mass.) dashed home from first base as Santora smacked a double to deep centerfield with two outs.
Rockford restored its lead to two runs, extending the gap to 3-1. Ryan Scarpetta rolled a single into left field to drive in Robert Smith from second.
In the eighth inning, Eastern Nazarene narrowed the deficit to one, 3-2. Justin Wagner raked a pinch-hit double to left and came around to score on a two-out double to left center by Rice.
Cameron Fiorentino (Uxbridge, Mass.) hurled six innings and registered four strikeouts while allowing four hits and two earned runs. Tyler Brown (Wilmington, Del.) fanned a pair of batters in his collegiate debut as he worked a scoreless inning of relief action. Antonio Ortegon (Haltom City, Texas) pitched one frame and posted one strikeout while surrendering one base knock.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene returns to action Monday, March 7 with a doubleheader against Defiance.