DC Sweeps Doubleheader, Notches 600th Victory
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Defiance began its eight-game stint in Port Charlotte, Fla., with victories against Becker and Ohio Wesleyan on Monday. The win over Becker was the 600th victory in the history of the DC baseball program, while the OWU win moved the Jackets to 2-2 on the season.
Defiance edged Becker for the historic win in the first game of the afternoon behind a strong showing on the mound from Nick Picciano. The senior hurler tossed seven strong innings and allowed just one earned run on five hits, while striking out five.
The Jackets did most of their damage in the second inning after Bradley Rittner walked and moved to second when Ben Gates was hit by a pitch. Levi Pauli then worked a one-out walk to load the bases and Michael Dushane delivered a two-run single to give DC the early 2-1 advantage. Pauli and Dushane then executed a double steal, with Dushane swiping second base and Pauli racing home to push the cushion to 3-1.
A two-out rally in the fifth capped the scoring for Defiance and provided the eventual game-winning score. Tim Pitro started things with a single to left field and then stole second. After Keith Wade drew a walk, Rittner roped a single into left to score Pitro and give DC the 4-1 lead.
Becker would close the gap with single runs in the seventh and ninth but wasted an opportunity to draw even with a key play on the bases. With a run already in and runners on first and third, the Hawks attempted to steal second base with two outs to move the potential go-ahead runner into scoring position. DC’s Casey Kahsen fired down to second and Pauli applied the tag for the final out of the 4-3 Defiance win.
DC mustered only four hits in the victory but used six walks, six hit batters and four stolen bases to scrape out the four runs. Dushane led the way from the leadoff position, going 2-4 with two runs driven in, while Pitro, Rittner, Gates and Pauli each scored one run.
Picciano (1-0) earned the win on the mound and Nicholas Bratt worked the final two innings to record the save in his first collegiate outing.
Defiance got more solid pitching in the second game and saw the offense explode in a 14-5 blowout of Ohio Wesleyan. DC rapped out 18 hits in the win and scored the final 14 runs of the game to secure the victory.
Kirk Jesse and Pitro each had three hits, while Pitro collected five RBI. Dushane, Rittner, Wade, Aaron Stewart and Brandon Belew all added two hits to fuel the hit parade, as the Jackets plated six runs in the fourth, and added eight more in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Tim Henneman (1-0) was tagged for four earned runs and five total runs in a rocky first two innings, before settling in to go six full frames for DC. Henneman picked up the win and ended with six strikeouts, while Brett Belew held the Bishops scoreless in three innings of work for the lengthy save. Belew sparkled in his collegiate debut, yielding only two hits and striking out a pair of OWU hitters.
Defiance (2-2) will play a true twinbill on Tuesday morning against Skidmore. The first pitch is scheduled for 10:00 am in Port Charlotte, Fla.