CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Forester baseball team dropped a 7-3 decision to Montreat College (N.C.) before outlasting the Cavaliers in the nightcap 2-1 on opening day of spring break in central Florida.
Despite going up against a Montreat squad who had already logged 23 games prior to Sunday afternoon, the Foresters matched the Cavaliers’ firepower at the plate through the first two innings before MC got the best of the HU pitching staff.
After spotting Montreat a run in the top of the first, Adam Christner used his speed to reach first on a Cavalier bobble and then stole second before scampering home on a Drew Adams’ single to knot the score at 1-1.
The Cavaliers went to work again in the second to scored three runs on four hits to push back on top 4-1. The Foresters again countered in their half of the frame. Brandon Van Matre tripled to right and came around to score on a passed ball to pull within two at 4-2. Several batters later Eric Schultz blasted one to center for an RBI-double to close within one but the Foresters would get no closer.
Montreat went on to add three more insurance over the next four innings to claim the 7-3 win.
Mitch Bowers took the loss on the mound. In 5.2 innings of work, he gave up 11 hits, seven runs and two walks while striking out four.
Schultz finished with two hits and an RBI to pace HU at the plate.
Junior Tyler Palmer pitched a gem to pick up a 2-1 win in his opening appearance on the mound in the game two of the doubleheader. In four innings of work, he gave up one run on five hits and two walks while striking out two. Brian Kirschbaum came on in relief to pick up the save. He held the Cavaliers scores through the final three innings.
It looked like Montreat was picking up where they left off as they opened up play with a run in the bottom of the first but HU’s Palmer and Kirschbaum teamed up to take control on the mound and was backed by solid defense to hold the Cavaliers scoreless the rest of the way.
HU’s first run came in the top of the second when Josh Lanphier knocked in Shaun Marion who had reached base on a wild throw earlier in the inning to deadlock the score at 1-1. Two innings later, Schultz delivered a two-out triple and then cruised home on a Christner single for what proved to be the game-winner.
The Cavaliers didn’t go down without a fight as they loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh but Kirschbaum proved to be their spoiler as he calmly retired the next three batters to squelch any hope of a heroic comeback.
Schultz again lead the Foresters at the plate with three hits. Adams added two hits while Christner and Lanphier each registered an RBI-single.
"We played pretty well on the day,” commented Coach Frame. “In the first game Mitch just did not have great location and Montreat is a very solid team and they took advantage of it. In the second game we got an outstanding start from Tyler Palmer and a three-inning save from Brian Kirschbaum. Montreat loaded the bases in the bottom on the seventh with no outs, but could not score."
The Foresters (1-5) are back in action today to face Olivet Nazarene University.