FORT MYERS, Fla. – Freshman catcher Alex Murdoch had quite a collegiate debut as he was 3 for 5 with four RBI's, had a two-run triple which gave Coast Guard the lead in the seventh and tagged out the tying run in the bottom of the ninth on a throw from sophomore right fielder Kyle Jackson as Coast Guard held on for a thrilling 7-6 season opening win over North Park at the Gene Cusic Classic.
It was a big day for freshmen all around as four players had a major impact on the win in their first collegiate game.
Freshman Joe Siciliano picked up the win in relief while classmate Cody Bain got the final three outs to pick up the save. Siciliano worked 2 1/3 innings and allowed three hits and one earned run while Bain did not allow a hit in the ninth, but worked around a pair of errors.
Freshman Chris Clark added a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth which proved to be the game winning run.
Murdoch got the Bears on the board with an RBI single in his first collegiate at bat, an RBI single in the second to score junior Cory Sonnega, who doubled. In his next at bat in the fourth inning, Murdoch's RBI single scored junior Kyle Wood, who reached on an error as the Bears took a 2-0 lead.
Coast Guard scored an unearned run in the fifth for a 3-1 lead before North Park scored four runs, three unearned in the home half of the fifth for a 5-3 lead.
The Bears got one back in the sixth on an RBI double by senior Blake Thompson scoring junior Ed Lazowski, who drew a two-out walk.
Murdoch struck again in the seventh with his two-out, two-run triple scoring Wood and Sonnega as the Bears took a 6-5 lead. Clark's pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh scored Thompson, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, giving the Bears a much needed insurance run.
In the ninth, the first two batters singled to chase Siciliano and bring on Bain. Murdoch, who had a key pickoff of runner off second base in the sixth with nobody out, threw out a runner stealing second for the first out before back-to-back errors pushed in a run and gave the Vikings runners on first and third.
The fly ball to right was played perfectly by Jackson who threw a one-hop strike to Murdoch to applied the tag to give the Bears the win.
Sonnega had three hits including a double while junior Mark Behne added pair of hits in the win for the Bears. Senior Matt Hanks did not have an official at bat and reached base four times as he was hit by a pitch three times, walked and added a sacrifice bunt which led to the Bears final run.
Coast Guard starter senior Andy Lucak allowed five runs, just two earned in 4 1/3 innings and sophomore Justin Rebholz allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
The Bears are back in action on Sunday when they take on rival Merchant Marine in a doubleheader at 9 a.m. to start a three-game series.
POST GAME INTERVIEW WITH HEAD COACH C.C. GRANT
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