Sixth inning comeback gives Pioneer baseball momentum
A sixth inning comeback against Cornell College showed potential for a Pioneer baseball team coming off a 2-8 record.
“We really struggled in Florida in all phases of the game,” said Head Coach Derek Hassell. “Since we have returned, we made some changes on defense, our pitchers have thrown more strikes and we had some clutch hitting at times.”
Jason Pattengale started for Carroll in the nightcap of a doubleheader against Cornell. Shaky control coupled with errors and passed balls led to four runs in the top of the first inning of what proved to be a short outing for Pattengale.
Sam Mulkey replaced him at the start of the second inning.
Carroll scored a run in the bottom of the first, but Cornell would respond with two in the second and another in the third.
The Pioneers entered their half of the sixth down 7-1.
Gendrich led off with a single and Jordan Stephans was hit by a pitch. Matt Busse singled to bring Gendrich home before Joe Klobukowski and Dan O’Brien walked, eventually scoring Stephans.
Tyler Warner singled in the third run of the inning. Tyler Fitzsimmons pinch hit for Phil Giuffre and doubled home O’Brien and Klobukowski.
George Simons followed with a double of his own to bring home Fitzsimmons and Warner and give Carroll an 8-7 lead. Gendrich got his second at bat of the inning, doubling in Simons. He would eventually be caught stealing third and Busse would fly out to end the inning.
Mulkey struck out the first batter of the seventh inning. He walked the second, but got a double play to end the game.
Prior to the comeback against Conrell, the Pioneers had, for the most part, struggled.
The annual spring break trip to Fort Myers, Fla. has traditionally been unkind to the Pioneer baseball team, and the 2011 trip proved to be no different.
Carroll dropped the first three games of the season by at least ten runs before being shut out in the fourth game. In the fifth game, the Pioneers would be blown out 23-8.
The last three games of the trip would be closer, but Carroll would ultimately leave Florida with a 0-8 record.
Carroll’s last winning trip to Fort Myers came in the 2009 season when the team went 6-2. They ultimately finished the season 8-25, claiming only 1 win in the Midwest Conference.
This year’s team responded immediately to the losses with a 8-4 win over Dominican University March 28 as soon as the trip was over.
The Stars struck first, thanks to an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning, but the Pioneers took the lead in the top of the fourth. The lead proved short lived as Dominican scored two more runs in the bottom of the inning to regain the lead.
Carroll would regain the lead in the fifth before Dominican tied the score in the sixth. Carroll would score four more runs in the final three innings to take their first win of the season.
The Pioneers played their first game at Frame Park, hosting the doubleheader against Cornell.
Drew Volkmann started the first game for the Pioneers, going 4.1 innings before being relieved by Cale Ross. Together, they shut out Rams. Aaron Gendrich’s three RBI led the Carroll offense to a 5-0 win.
With the momentum of a heroic comeback behind them, Carroll had to deal with virtually all baseball teams deal with at one point or another: Bad weather.
The April 6 game against Cardinal Stritch University was postponed. Instead, the Pioneers would head to Ripon College with an extra day of rest.
The Pioneers fought to stay close after Ripon took a 3-2 lead in the second inning of game one, but ultimately fell 10-7.
Pattengale took the mound for game two, bouncing back from his one inning appearance against Cornell. Through seven innings, Pattengale surrendered three runs on seven hits, but struck out five batters while keeping Carroll close.
The Pioneers struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the fifth, but Ripon tied it up in the sixth.
Ripon took a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning which ultimately proved to be enough to earn the win.
Both teams traveled to Frame Park to finish the season series.
Carroll took game one 6-5 after a back and forth battle for seven innings.
Ripon took the final game of the series 17-8 after surrendering 14 runs in the last five innings.
Much of the remaing season will be conference games.
“We are excited about beginning conference play,” Hassell said. “The games always seem to be a little more intense.
We will play it one game at a time and we will see if we can put a good run together in the conference. “
Carroll’s next match is against Division I opponent UW-Milwaukee.