FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team opened its eight-game Spring Break trip with a pair of seven-inning setbacks against Wisconsin Lutheran College, 4-3 and 3-1, on Sunday during the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic at the Terry Park Sports Complex. The Purple Knights are 0-6 after their first meetings ever with the Warriors, who were beginning their season.
Junior Trevor Allen (Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth Regional) was 2-for-2 with a run, two RBIs, a home run and two walks in the opener. His seventh career homer matched Dan Doherty '02 for eighth in program history. First-year Holden Jackman (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) put forth a 2-for-3 effort, as he and classmate Cameron Kroeger (Clearwater, Fla./Countryside) earned their first collegiate hits, and junior Joe Robertson (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) finished 2-for-4 with a run and a double. Graduate student Nick Dorcean (Bellerose, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy/SUNY Old Westbury) surpassed 100 career strikeouts (104) by whiffing six batters, his most in three years, but took the loss after yielding all four runs - three earned - on four hits in four innings. Junior Christian Devine (Exeter, N.H./Exeter) worked three innings of one-hit, shutout relief, fanning three.
Sophomore Jake Wiedower was 2-for-4 with a run for Wisconsin Lutheran, and senior KJ Banse hit a two-run homer. Classmate Brock Vredeveld earned the win after yielding all three runs, two of which were earned, in 6.2 innings with nine strikeouts. Senior Jacob Smrz retired the final batter to register the save.
Wisconsin Lutheran plated an unearned run in the first inning before Allen's two-out single in the home half scored sophomore Connor Hopkins (Windham, N.H./Windham), who had led off with a double. Dorcean escaped a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the second, and the Purple Knights saw Kroeger, Jackman and first-year Anthony Azpeitia (Tampa, Fla./King) single in the bottom half, but Kroeger was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Azpeitia's knock. Banse hit his two-run homer the next inning, and Saint Michael's left two in scoring position in the third before an RBI groundout made it 4-1 in the Warriors' favor in the fourth.
Allen's solo homer in the fifth cut the deficit to two runs, and the Purple Knights had a chance to tie in the bottom of the seventh. Robertson started a two-out rally with a single before Allen walked, and Robertson came home when junior Sean Winthrop's (Hopkinton, Mass./Lawrence Academy) grounder was misplayed. With runners at first and second with two down in a 4-3 game, Smrz came on to induce a game-ending groundout.
First-year Alex Mendez (Fallon, Nev./Churchill County) was the hard-luck loser in the nightcap, allowing no earned runs on four hits - all singles - while striking out three and walking two during six innings in his first collegiate start. Azpeitia scored and stole a base, while first-year Danté Moran (Saint Petersburg, Fla./Dixie Hollins) drove in the run.
Junior Jake Schwall's two-run suicide squeeze in the sixth was the difference for Wisconsin Lutheran, while four Warriors had one hit, including sophomore Johnny Offenbacher, who drove in the other run. Classmate Dylan Knoespel spun a one-hitter, with the only run unearned, as he struck out six with no walks.
In a game that took 1:28 to play, both teams threatened during scoreless first innings. Robertson singled with two down in the top half before being stranded, and Vredeveld walked and stole second with one down but was left there. First-year Jake Constien singled with two out in the second before reaching second on an error and scoring the first run on Offenbacher's single. Saint Michael's countered in the third, with Azpeitia reaching on an error, swiping second, advancing on another miscue, and coming home on Moran's groundout.
The hurlers combined to retired 16 straight batters between the third and sixth innings before Vredeveld led off the sixth with an infield single and took second on an infield error. Banse's single moved the runner before he stole second to put two in scoring position, and Schwall's sac bunt brought both unearned runs home with two down. The Purple and Gold went down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
The Purple Knights take on the University of Wisconsin-Stout tomorrow at 12 p.m. for a doubleheader at the Player Development Complex in Fort Myers.