FORT MYERS, FLA. -- The Defiance College baseball team improved to 3-0 on the season as they began their annual trip to Florida with a pair of victories over Hiram College on Monday.
In the opener, Defiance (3-0) used a superb pitching performance from junior Paris Creek (Bryan) to guide their way to a 2-0 victory over the Terriers (0-4). The first six innings went scoreless on both sides, behind a dominant performance from Creek, as he went six innings and allowed just two hits and two walks without allowing a run.
The lone runs of the contest came in the top of the seventh. With one out on the board, senior Michael Gilliland (Napoleon) started a rally with a single up the middle. Senior Glen Collier (Zionsville, Ind.) followed that up with a double to left field to score the go-ahead run. Junior Tanner Stippich added the extra insurance run with a double to score Collier and give DC the 2-0 advantage.
Sophomore Will Bohlman (Centerville) slammed the door in his first outing as a Yellow Jackets, allowing a hit and a walk but keeping the shutout intact to earn a save and finish off the victory.
Leading the Yellow Jacket offense was Gilliland, as he finished the contest with a pairof hits to go along with scoring the go-ahead run.
The offense continued to gel in the nightcap, as the Yellow Jackets came home with a 16-11 victory to earn the series sweep.
The middle of the order continued the momentum from game one as Collier doubled to score Gilliland, who walked, to put DC on the board. Stippich and Konwinski continued the rally with back-to-back run-scoring singles to put the Yellow Jackets ahead, 3-0. Senior catcher Mac Edwards (Kingston, Ont./Jefferson CC) wrapped up the first inning scoring with a sac fly to score Konwinski and put Defiance up 4-0 after an inning.
After the Terriers went down in order in the second, the Defiance offense continued their hot streak, scoring four more runs including a two-run shot over the left center field wall by Collier that extended the lead to 6-0 and finished made Hiram turn to the bullpen after just 1.1 innings. After Stippch walked, Konwinski added another RBI to make it 7-0, and junior Tyler Weaver (Defiance) brought him in with a sac fly to put the Yellow Jackets in front, 8-0 after two frames.
The Terriers got on the board in the third inning with a double and a single, but the Yellow Jackets got the run back in the bottom half, as Jude Neary (Toledo/Cardinal Stritch) led off the inning with a base hit and scored on a double by Gilliland to put Defiance in front, 9-1, through three.
Hiram got a home run from P.J. Suso to make it a 9-2 game in the fourth, but Defiance saw a seven-run fifth frame give them a commanding 16-2 edge. The inning included a bases-loaded double by Konwinski that cleared the bases, boosting his RBI total to five on the game. Weaver added a run-scoring single, while Neary batted in two more on a double to left center that grew the lead to 16-2.
Hiram tried to make it a contest with a seventh-inning rally that saw the Terriers score seven runs on six hits. With the score at 16-11 and only one out, sophomore Grant Curavo iced it for the Yellow Jackets as he pitched his way into a game-ending double play to end the threat and preserve the sweep for DC.
Starting pitcher Jon Brown (Haskins/Otsego) gave DC their second quality start of the afternoon, throwing five innings and allowing just two runs on three hits.
The offensive explosion saw eight Yellow Jackets distribute base hits with six of them getting multiple hits. Konwinski led the charge, batting a perfect five-for-five with three doubles, five RBI, and three runs scored. Collier added three hits and three RBI, including the home run in the second inning. Garrett Sierra (Defiance), Gilliland, Nate Kaffenbarger (DeGraff/Indian Lake), and Neary each added a pair of hits for Defiance.
Defiance looks to extend its season-opening winning streak with another twinbill in Fort Myers, Fla. on Tuesday, Mar. 6. DC will take on Finlandia (Mich.) University for two seven-inning contests beginning at 9 a.m.