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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. â You can put it on the board! Marygrove baseball made history Thursday (Mar. 5) with a dramatic comeback victory over the host Fighting Lions of Florida Memorial. Down four heading into the final inning, the Mustangs posted a six-run seventh to earn the program’s first win, topping the Fighting Lions by an 11-10 final in Miami Gardens.
The Mustangs nearly put together a second comeback in game two before falling to the Fighting Lions by an 8-6 final to wrap up the program’s inaugural spring trip.
GAME ONE — @MGroveBASEBALL 11, Florida Memorial 10
The Mustangs struggled behind starter Daniel Bailey (Harrison Twp., Mich./L’Anse Creuse High School) in the opening inning Thursday, committing four errors to lift the Fighting Lions to an early 5-0 lead. The five-run lead would hold until the top of the fourth when the Mustangs plated four to cut deficit to 5-4. David Chung (Warren, Mich./Bishop Foley High School) and Chris Gittleman (Windsor, Ontario/Trinity Christian College) chipped in first with an RBI each before Mavrick Dube (Warren, Mich./Mott High School) scored two more with his two-out single to center field.
Florida Memorial fought back to post two runs, extending their lead to 7-4 after four innings of play.
Down 9-5 heading into their final at bat, the young Mustangs displayed veteran patience by earning seven walks in the inning. Sophomore outfield Raleigh Wilson (Harrison Twp., Mich./West Texas) ignited the inning with a triple over the left fielder’s head, scoring Chase Younkin (Macomb, Mich./Culver-Stockton College) who came around from first after a walk. Later in the inning, Dube came up huge for the Mustangs by getting down a gutsy squeeze called by first-year skipper Ryan Kottke with the bases loaded and one out.
Dube’s squeeze attempt scored fellow freshman outfielder Drew Johnson (Trenton, Mich./Trenton High School) to tie the game, 9-9, in the final inning. Veteran’s Kyle Hartwick (Oxford, Mich./Rend Lake CC) and Wilson each walked with the bases loaded from there to give the Mustangs an 11-9 edge heading into the Fighting Lions’ final home half of the opening game.
Freshman righty Trey Blandford (Louisville, Ky./Fern Creek High School) came on in relief of Bailey to start the sixth inning and returned to the mound in the seventh for Kottke and the Mustangs. In the seventh inning, Blandford and the Mustangs defense were able to shut the door on the Fighting Lions to secure the program’s first win.
Dube led the Mustangs with four RBI in game one. The freshman was followed by Chung, Gittleman and Wilson with two RBI’s each, while Hartwick added his lone run batted in during the dramatic seventh-inning comeback.
“It was great to see the guys bounce back and earn the win after a rough start,” said Kottke after the game. “We had four errors in the first inning alone and six for the game â numbers that don’t win you many ball games. In the end, the guys pulled through and put together a nice team win. We have a lot of work to do and quick, but I am proud of the guys for never giving in despite being down big early.”
GAME TWO â Florida Memorial 8, @MGroveBASEBALL 6
The Mustangs nearly made it a two-for-two day in the comeback department, falling short instead to a hungry Fighting Lions team by an 8-6 final in the latter game of Thursday’s doubleheader. Freshman pitcher Ryne Underwood (Louisville, Ky./Fern Creek High School) settled in after the Fighting Lions posted three runs in the first inning to work five frames of six-run ball.
Big innings â a three-run first and a four-run fourth â provided the Fighting Lions all they needed to earn the narrow 8-6 victory over the Mustangs in the nightcap. Despite being down 3-1 after one inning, the Mustangs battled back to take a 4-3 lead through 3 Â½ innings of play thanks to a timely single by Younkin that brought two home to put the Green and Gold back in front.
The Fighting Lions’ second of two big innings happened a half inning later, leading to an 8-5 lead for the home team heading into the Mustangs’ final at bat. The Mustangs were able to bring the game-tying run to the plate in the final inning but fell just shy of completing another comeback to settle for the split.
Youkin led the Mustangs in game two, going 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. Hartwick followed closely with a pair of RBIs off of a 2-for-3 performance, while Gittleman continued to get on base with a 2-for-3 game and a walk.
The Mustangs Sports Network plans to travel with the team Mar. 13-14 for the Mustangs four-game set at NAIA counterpart Indiana University Southeast. Due to weather and field concerns, the series has been moved to Grand Park in Westfield, Ind. Check marygrovemustangs.com/live regularly for updated broadcast times and information.Â
BASEBALL CONTACT: Tim Johnston |Â [emailÂ protected] /* */Â |Â @tjohnston56
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