Bears Split With Merchant Marine to Open Season

Will Stephens
Will Stephens

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Junior Will Stephens had three hits and three RBI's backing sophomore Brett Sullivan on the mound as Coast Guard beat Merchant Marine 4-2 in the opener of a doubleheader before the Bears dropped the nightcap 4-1 to open the season at the Gene Cusic Classic.

GAME ONE: Coast Guard 4, Merchant Marine 2

Sullivan worked six solid innings and allowed six hits and a pair of earned runs while walking two and striking out two to get the win.

The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI double by freshman Vincenzo Alteri .

Coast Guard scored twice in the third on a two-run single by Stephens scoring junior Trey Rittenhouse, who reached on a fielder's choice and sophomore Alex Cordes, who doubled.

Merchant Marine tied it 2-2 in the fourth on an RBI single by junior Reilly Cherry.

Rittenhouse led off the fifth with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cordes and scored on a double by Stephens for a 3-2 lead.

Junior Jeremy Lhotka blasted a solo homer to left for an insurance run in the top of the seventh pushing the lead to a 4-2.

Freshman Lukas Caskey, worked out of a jam in the seventh, to pick up a save in his first collegiate appearance. He walked the lead off batter before an error put runners on first and second. Caskey would get a strike out, fielder's choice and then another strikeout to close out the game.

Lhotka, senior Alex Murdoch and sophomore Kyle Moore each had two hits in the win for the Bears.

GAME TWO: Merchant Marine 4, Coast Guard 1

Junior Andrew Spinnenweber allowed one run on four hits, did not walk a batter and struck out 10 to pick up the complete game win. He had retired 17 straight batters before Lhotka ripped a two-out double in the seventh and sophomore Jon Pressley's RBI single broke up the shutout.

The Mariners scored all four runs, two earned , in  the first inning off Coast Guard starter Dustin Reeder, who took the loss. He allowed five hits walked three and struck out five in six innings work. Junior Dan Finn pitched a scoreless seventh.

Merchant Marine got on the board on an RBI double by senior Michael Barnes, a fielder's choice ground out made the score 2-0. A throwing error by Reeder gave the Mariners a 3-0 lead before a line drive single off Reeder's glove pushed the score to 3-0.

Lhotka had two of the four Coast Guard hits in the loss.

The Bears are back in action on Sunday when they take on Baruch at noon at the Gene Cusic Classic.

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