Grizzlies Top Defiance in HCAC Series Opener
DEFIANCE, Ohio – Franklin jumped on the board early with four runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back in the first game of a weekend set against the Yellow Jackets. DC could not answer until the fifth and ended up taking an 11-3 loss to the Grizzlies at Rutter Field.
FC saw its first four batters of the game reach base safely and ended up with four runs on four hits in the opening frame to grab the early lead. Aaron Stewart (1-2) started the game on the mound for Defiance and struggled with his control early, hitting two of the first three hitters to ignite the first-inning rally.
The senior hurler settled in after the shaky first inning and held the powerful Franklin offense to just one run over the next three frames, until running out of gas in the fifth. The Grizzlies once again put their first four hitters on base to begin the rally and blew the game open by tacking four more runs onto its lead.
Defiance cut into the 9-0 deficit in the bottom half of the fifth inning and ended Luke Mehringer’s (3-1) one-hit bid after Kirk Jesse legged out a two-out infield single. Tim Pitro then lifted a soaring fly ball over the left-field fence. Pitro’s first home run of the season brought DC within 9-2.
DC threatened again in the sixth and tacked on its third run of the game when Michael Dushane singled home Braden Brugler. That chased Mehringer, but a pair of Grizzly relievers combined to toss the final 3.1 innings and preserve the 11-3 win for Franklin.
The Yellow Jacket bullpen was also solid, as Nicholas Bratt, Patrick McKee and Nate White teamed to hold Franklin to just two runs on five hits in the final five innings of action.
Casey Kahsen led DC at the plate with a 3-4 day and five other Jackets found the hit column. Defiance ended with eight hits and drew three walks but came away with only three runs after stranding 11 men on the base paths.
Defiance (4-14, 1-4 HCAC) and Franklin (10-6, 3-2 HCAC) will hook up on the diamond for a pair of games on Saturday beginning at 12:00 pm.