LAKELAND, Fla. – For the second year in a row, the Gallaudet University baseball team beat a ranked Rowan University squad on its annual spring break trip at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. The Bison split the doubleheader with the Profs, winning the first game 2-0 and dropping the second 12-3, at Henley Field. The triumph over 10th-ranked Rowan marks the biggest win in program history.
In the first game, Gallaudet (10-6) scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning when senior JJ Klein (Cincinnati, Ohio) reached on a Rowan error, which resulted in a RBI, as senior Marcus Smith (Baltimore, Md.) ran home. The duo of Klein and Smith would combine to produce the Bison's second run of the game in the third inning. Klein had a RBI-single to center field as Smith scored from second base. Smith led the team with two runs and two hits, while Klein led the team with two RBI. The loss marked the second loss in two days for the nationally ranked Profs.
Sophomore pitcher Danny O'Donnell (Olney, Md.) threw a gem as he held the No. 10 Profs (7-2) scoreless in the first game. O'Donnell allowed only five hits and recorded seven strikeouts on his way to a complete-game shutout.
In the second game, Rowan took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning before the Bison struck back in the top of the fourth inning with two runs. Klein was able to score Gallaudet's first run due to a Rowan error as senior catcher Casey Hicks (Henderson, Nev.) reached base on the play. Hicks went on to score the second run as senior Chris Guinn (McLoud, Okla.) singled to right field.
The Profs regained the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. GU knotted the game at 3-3 in the top of the sixth inning as junior Chase Magsig (Hudsonville, Mich.) doubled home junior Mitchell Bensman (Russia, Ohio). GU couldn't push across another run to get the lead back in the sixth.
Rowan broke open the game in the bottom half of the sixth as the Profs scored nine times to place the game out of reach.
Guinn (1-1) suffered the loss as he allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits, one walk and struck out one in over five innings of work. Freshman Blake Phillips (Dalton, Ga.) was ineffective as he surrendered three runs on three hits on 12 pitches as he didn't record an out. Senior Tyler Crace (Westfield, Ind.) finished the game as he got the final three outs in the sixth but not before giving up four runs (three earned) on three hits.
Freshman Justin Strong (Charlotte, N.C.) led the team with two hits in the second game. Rowan had six players with two hits each as the Profs racked up 15 against the Bison.
Last year, Gallaudet defeated No. 23 Rowan, 11-10 in 11 innings, to earn the program's first-ever win over a nationally ranked team in program history.
GU will wrap-up its spring break trip tomorrow (Thursday, March 20) with a 10 a.m. game with Oglethorpe University (9-10) in Winter Haven, Fla.
Notes: Gallaudet's spring break game with Sewanee for March 18 was rained out and canceled...GU added a second game with Rowan after the Sewanee cancelation...GU will host Frostburg State on Sunday, March 23, at 1 p.m. instead of traveling to Frostburg, Md., because its field is not playable.