PORT CHARLOTTE, Florida -- The Baldwin Wallace University baseball team, ranked 19th nationally in the first Division III poll conducted by the D3Baseball.com web site, opened its 2015 season by defeating Hampden-Sydney (Va.) College, 7-1, in its first game on its annual spring break trip to Port Charlotte, Florida. The Yellow Jackets, who advanced to the 2014 NCAA Division III College World Series, play seven more games during the next six days.
Baldwin Wallace (1-0) scored single runs in the top of the first and third innings to take a 2-0 lead, added another run in the seventh and two in the eighth to lead 5-0 before Hampden-Sydney scored its lone run in the bottom of the eignth to cut the BW lead to 5-1. The Yellow Jackets added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the final frame to close the scoring.
In the first inning, BW gained a 1-0 lead when Division III All-American senior first-baseman Kyle Chontos (Pickerington/North) doubled down the left-field line to drive home sophomore third-baseman Cole Nieto (Brunswick/Cleveland St. Ignatius) from second base. Nieto singled with one out.
The Yellow Jackets doubled their lead to 2-0 in the third inning when junior All-Ohio Athletic Conference designated hitter Hunter Handel (Akron/Green) hit a bloop single into left field to bring home Nieto from third base. Nieto led off the inning with his second hit of the game.
In the seventh frame, BW sophomore second baseman Steve Montgomery (Canton/Canton Central Catholic) pulled off a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to score Chontos and give the Yellow Jackets a 3-0 advantage. Chontos walked to start the inning, went to second on a wild pitch, and got to third when junior two-time All-OAC second-baseman/pitcher Mark Zimmerman (Akron/Green) singled up the middle.
In the eighth inning, BW added to its lead and made the score 4-0 when senior All-OAC left fielder Zach Ferster (Olmsted Falls) doubled down the left field line to bring home freshman catcher Trent Kaltenbach (Plain City/Jonathan Alter) from second. Kaltenbach, playing in his first collegiate game, opened the inning with a walk and moved to second base via a sacrifice bunt. Later in the inning, Nieto singled through the right side of the infield to score Ferster.
Hampden-Sydney tallied its only run of the game in the bottom of the inning to cut into the BW lead and make the score 5-1.
The Yellow Jackets added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth on singles from Ferster and Zimmerman to make the score 7-1.
At the plate, the Yellow Jackets outhit Hampden-Sydney, 16-7. BW was led by Nieto who went 3-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored and a run batted-in (RBI). Kaltenbach was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Ferster was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Zimmerman was 2-for-5 with an RBI and pitched two scoreless innings of relief and struck out three Hampden-Sydney batters. Also, senior All-OAC right fielder Alex Green (Pickerington/ North) was 2-for-4.
On the mound, junior All-OAC right-hander Alex Albright (North Royalton) earned his first win of the season. He pitched five scoreless innings, allowed three hits and no runs with six strikeouts and two walks.
In relief, Zimmerman threw for two scoreless innings and allowed two hits and one walk. Freshman righty Nick Patrone (Bellaire) began the eighth and pitched two-thirds of an inning, allowed one earned run on two hits and two walks. Junior right-hander Matt Wittels (Lyndhurst/Brush) earned his first save of the season after one and one-third innings of work. He allowed one unearned run on no hits, one strikeout, and two walks.
BW is back in action tomorrow, Monday, March 9, when it faces Moravian (Pa.) College in Port Charlotte, Florida at 9:00 a.m. Moravian, who BW faced and defeated at last year's NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament, defeated 12th-ranked and OAC-rival Marietta College, 8-5, earlier today.
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