King’s Baseball Sweep John Carroll on Final Day of Florida Trip

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MARCH 10, 2018


AUBURNDALE, FL --- The King's College baseball team wrapped up the team's annual spring break trip with a sweep of John Carroll University on Saturday at the Lake Myrtle Complex in Auburndale, Florida. The Monarchs won by scores of 5-2 and 5-1.

After a rough start to the trip against a tough schedule, King's will return north with a 3-5 record while John Carroll falls to 7-4.

In the first game, Brad Wilkins led off the bottom of the first with a single to the gap in right center. After advancing to third on a balk and groundout to short, Chris Rebar knocked him in with a single to right. Kyle Lupas hit a single to right to put runners at first and second with one out before Matt Mellinger continued his hot start with an RBI double down the right-field line. The Blue Streaks were able to get out of the inning with no more damage on back-to-back strikeouts.

In the second inning, John Carroll drew a one-out walk and then had a bunt single to put runners at first and second. Billy Neill and Christian Pack executed a perfect pickoff play to catch the runner off the bag at second for the second out of the inning. That pickoff would prove very important to the inning as the Blue Streaks would get a single to right field two pitches later that would have scored a run. Neill got a groundout to first to end the inning with the Monarchs still leading 2-0.

Sean Padden led off the bottom of the inning with a single to left and then advanced to second on a balk. After Sean McKee drew a nine-pitch walk while fouling off four pitches, King's put runners at second and third on a wild pitch. Wilkins knocked both runs in with a single down the right-field line that just got past the John Carroll first baseman. That was all the runs the Monarchs would get in the inning as the next three batters hit the ball hard but were put out by the Blue Streaks defense.

John Carroll scored their two runs in the third on back-to-back doubles and a single up the middle with two outs in the inning. Neill got out of the inning with his third strikeout of the game. The Blue Streaks put runners on second and third with two outs in the fourth but once again Neill was able to get out of the jam with a fly ball down the line in left that Bruce Breithaupt had no trouble getting over to for the final out of the inning.

Matt Hassick relieved Neill in the fifth and got the first two batters to fly out to Rebar in right. The third batter hit a single down the line in right but was thrown out by McKee trying to stretch the hit into a double. In the sixth, Hassick erased a leadoff single when he caught the runner leaning towards second for the Monarchs second pickoff of the game. Hassick struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

The Monarchs added their final run of the game in the bottom of the inning with a Padden double down the right-field line, a McKee walk, and then a two-out  RBI single to left center by Pack. Hassick shut the door in the seventh with a 1-2-3 inning on 11 pitches to pick up the three-inning save.

Padden led the offense in the game with three hits in three at-bats with two runs scored. Wilkins had two hits, two runs batted in, and scored a run. Pack, Rebar, Lupas, and Mellinger had a hit each. Billy Neill pitched gave up two runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts in 4.0 innings to pick up the win on the mound. Matt Hassick got the three-inning save allowing just two hits and striking out three.

The Monarchs handed Steven Virost his first loss of the year in his third appearance. Virost went the distance for the Blue Streaks allowing five runs on nine hits and two walks with five strikeouts. David Ferguson led the John Carroll offense with two hits and an RBI.

In the second game, John Carroll struck first in the bottom of the first when they were able to score a run without a hit. Alex Bruneio, in his first collegiate start, had a rough start after he walked the first batter. The runner then stole second and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. A ground out to Pack at short scored the run. After another walk, Bruneio calmed down and struck out the next two batters swinging to end the inning.

The Monarchs got that run right back in the second inning. Lupas reached first on a fielding error by the shortstop, Mellinger extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single to right, and then Breithaupt moved the runners up a base with a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt down the first baseline. Lupas scored when the Blue Streaks shortstop made his second error of the inning on a ball off the bat of Padden. Unfortunately, that was all King's would score in the inning.

On the mound, Bruneio was in the midst of throwing a gem getting a weak grounder back to the mound and two more strikeouts in the second. He added a strikeout in the third and then struck out the side in the fourth. The Blue Streaks hitters made him really work for his strikeouts in the fourth as they fouled off 12 pitches and forced Bruneio to throw 24 pitches in the inning.

The Monarchs offense gave Bruneio a little bit of a rest in-between innings by sending six batters to the plate in the top of the fifth. King's put runners on first and second with one-out before Pack roped a double into the gap in left-center to score McKee and give King's a 2-1 lead. Bruneio was the benefactor of a short inning in the bottom half as he was able to get three fly balls on just six pitches.

In the sixth Lupas led off with a single to the right side before Mellinger hit a ground-rule double to right center that hit the warning track and bounced over the high fence. Breithaupt then knocked the second pitch he saw through the right side to score two runs and increase King's lead to 4-1. After a pitching change, Padden and McKee hit back-to-back single with Breithaupt scoring on the second hit. The Monarchs loaded the bases with one out in the inning but John Carroll got a pop up to short and a strikeout to get out of the inning with no more damage.

Bruneio struck out the first batter in the bottom of the inning for his ninth of the game before Aaron Zawadzki recorded the first hit of the game for John Carroll with a single to left. Bruneio forced lineouts to left and short to get out of the inning.

Chris Lupole relieved Bruneio in the seventh after a fantastic 91-pitch performance by the freshman.  Lupole got the first two outs of the inning before a single up the middle extended the game another batter. He was able to get the next batter to ground out to Pack at short to close out the game.

Lupas had two hits and scored twice in the second game while Mellinger added two hits and a run scored. Breithaupt knocked in two runs on one hit and scored a run. Pack, Padden, and McKee also knocked in runs and had a hit for the Monarchs. After a slow start, Bruneio was amazing on the mound allowing just one run on one hit and three walks and nine strikeouts. Lupole threw 11 pitches to record the final three outs and allowed a hit.

John Merrill got the loss on the mound for John Carroll in five-plus innings of work. He allowed five runs, three earned, on five hits and one walk with two strikeouts. Duncan Cappar and Nathaniel Wenson combined for the final two innings of work with each allowing one hit and striking out one. Aaron Zawadzki and Matthew Donnelly had a hit each to lead the Blue Streaks offense.

King's will now return to northeast Pennsylvania where they are scheduled to make their home debut on Wednesday. The Monarchs will face Centenary University at Lipo Field with first pitch scheduled for 4:00 p.m.