FT MYERS, FL (March 21, 2017) – No. 21 Johns Hopkins University scored four in the bottom of the eighth inning to bust open a 2-2 game, earning a 6-3 non-conference win over the Vassar College baseball team in action from the Gene Cusic Classic at Terry Park Stadium in the spring break finale for the Brewers.
Vassar (3-6) played well on the day, taking on its first ranked opponent of the season in Hopkins, which came into the game ranked No. 13 in the D3baseball.com Top 25 poll and No. 21 in the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) poll.
The Brewers got things going early in the top of the first inning, as junior Bobby Kinne started the rally with a single to left field, followed by a bunt base hit by senior Denis Shanagher. With one out, sophomore clean-up hitter Taylor Smach hammered a double to right center field to score both Kinne and Shanagher to give VC 2-0 lead.
The Blue Jays trimmed their deficit to one in the bottom of the third off Vassar starter Jake Silver, as Connor Reynolds walked to lead off the frame and later scored on a throwing error by Vassar. The Brewers threatened in the top of the fourth, loading the bases, but JHU got out of the jam with a ground ball double play.
Vassar put runners on first and third with two outs in the top of the sixth, as freshman Matt Martino doubled to center and Matt Schwartz reached on an infield single. The rally would be snubbed out though, as Blue Jay Harrison Folk induced a ground out to end the frame for VC.
Hopkins had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the seventh, as Mike Smith and Ryan Orgielewicz started the inning with singles off senior Adam Erkis. On an ensuing bunt attempt, VC would get the force at third for the first out of the inning. After that, Erkis got two consecutive fly outs to center field to keep the game score tied at two.
Vassar threatened in the top of the eighth as Smach walked and Schwartz singled to right field with two outs. Johns Hopkins reliever John Donahue worked out of the jam though, getting a called third strike with the count full to get out of the inning.
The difference in the game came in the bottom of the eighth, as Reynolds tripled in the game-winning run with one out, followed by a RBI single from Brian Lin and a two-run single from Joe Conlon. Vassar scored one in the top of the ninth on a Shanagher single and brought the tying run to the plate but a foul out ended the contest.
Smach finished 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Shanagher was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Schwartz and Kinne also both finished with a pair of hits for the Brewers, who tallied nine knocks on the day. Silver was solid again for VC, surrendering just one earned run on four hits, striking out three.
Vassar relievers Derek DeMild, Joe Conti, Adam Erkis and John Madsen all allowed no runs as well. Hopkins was led by Smith with four hits, while Orgielewicz added three hits in five at-bats. Folk went six innings, surrendering six hits and two runs. Donahue got the win for the Jays, tossing two innings and three hits, and Reynolds got the last out to record his first collegiate save.
The Brewers will return home to New York to open Liberty League play this weekend against the University of Rochester Saturday and Sunday. Due to the snow, the game will most likely be relocated to another site, so check back at vassarathletics.com for more updates through the week.