WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Eight Rams in the order produced at least one hit as the Suffolk baseball team took down Albion, 7-3, in its season opener Friday night at Chain of Lakes Field as part of the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational.
SCORE: Suffolk 7, Albion 3
RECORDS: Suffolk (1-0) | Albion (0-7)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After Will Hopkins made a diving catch in left with runners on second and third to end the top half of the first, the top of Suffolk's order loaded the bags, but were stranded to keep zeros on the scoreboard.
Both sides kept one runner on in a scoreless second, before Suffolk got on the scoreboard in the home half of the third. Brady Chant opened the action with a single to right, swiped second with Rich Gilbride at the plate and took advantage of an Albion bobble at short on Seth Coiley's at bat to land on third and set up Blasé Cormier's fielder choice RBI. The blue-and-gold did more damage as Will Hopkins followed Cormier's first collegiate RBI with a single and the classmates moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Rich Giandrea brought the rookies in with a single to left to make it a 3-0 Suffolk game.
An inning later, the 2017 NCAA Division III triples leader took no time to record his first hit good for three bags in 2018 as he barreled a shot to left center to plate Andrew Ashworth, who opened the inning with a single. Chant came in a batter later to turn Suffolk's edge to 5-0 Suffolk after four complete frames thanks to a sac fly by Gilbride.
Albion scored one run apiece in the fifth and sixth, respectively, to trim the margin to three.
That deficit did not remain for long, however, as the Rams responded with a pair of runs in the seventh to rebuild a five-run advantage through seven. Zack Aresty took Coiley's spot on the base after the senior drew a walk. The sophomore pinch runner advanced to second on an over throw to first by Briton's hurler John Hubmanks and stole third before Hopkins brought him home on a single. Hopkins then used Zach Grogan's single to cross home and stretch the margin to 7-2.
The Britons tacked on one more run in the eighth courtesy of Colton Rydlewski's sac fly and Suffolk's defense backed Tyler Zell on the mound in the ninth to secure the 7-3 victory.
- Mark Fusco earned the win as the senior captain put together a two-run, seven-hit, four-strikeout day threw six frames.
- Tyler Zell picked up the save with the junior coming out of the bull pen for 3.0 frames. He let up one run on four hits and fanned a pair of batters.
- Albion's Mitch Shedlowsky suffered the defeat as the starter gave up five runs on eight hits through 4.0 frames.
- Hubanks (3.0 IP, 2 R, 3 H 2 Ks) and Tristan Ellis (1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 Ks) provided relief effort for the Britons.
- Eight Rams combined for 12 hits with four batters producing two hits apiece in Chant (2-4), Coiley (2-3), Hopkins (2-4) and Ashworth (2-3).
- Leading the way was centerfield Chant, who had a day, registering a stat line of two hits, including one triple, one RBI, two runs and one stolen base.
- Hopkins made the most of his collegiate debut at the plate. He tallied two hits for one RBI and two runs and swiped one bag.
- Ashworth, who went 2-for-3 in his inaugural college outing, scored one run.
- Giandrea and Grogan contributed RBIs with the former plating two and the latter bringing in one.
- As a pinch runner, Aresty stole one base.
- The Rams won their second consecutive season opener.
- Suffolk and Albion met for the first time.
- Cormiér, Hopkins, Giandrea, Ashworth, Nik San Antonio and Shane Lake all made their collegiate debuts, while Gilbride appeared in a Rams uniform for the first time as well.
Suffolk is back in action tomorrow afternoon as it faces St. John Fisher at 12:30 p.m. at Auburndale High School.