FORT MYERS, Fla. - Salve Regina University baseball defeated Defiance College, 4-2, to deal the Yellow Jackets (5-1) their first loss of 2015, and improve to .500 (5-5) after completing its 10-game spring break schedule in southwest Florida.
Seahawk sophomore Cole Tretter (East Lyme, Conn.) earned his first victory of 2015 (1-1) after becoming the second Salve Regina starter to go at least five innings. He struck out five batters in the game, one in each inning he worked.
Tretter walked the first Yellow Jackets' batter he faced, which eventually led to a first-inning run. Defiance made the score 2-0 with another run in the top of the fourth.
Meanwhile, Defiance starter Matt Clark set down the first eight Salve Regina batters he faced until freshman outfielder John Militano (Miller Place, N.Y.) beat out an infield single to shortstop with two outs in the bottom of the third.
"Defiance is much better than we thought they were going to be," said second-year Seahawk head coach Eric Cirella. "They can really swing the bat and put up a lot of runs."
"Cole was just a little antsy, which happens to a lot of guys when they walk the lead-off guy. And of course that walk leads to a first-inning run. Basic thing for Cole is he just has to locate. He missed a couple of spots early, when he wanted to bounce a ball, then he settled right in to go after the holes in their swings. We needed that because we've used a lot of pitchers the last couple of days."
Salve Regina was playing less than 18 hours after completing a 12-inning marathon with a walk-off grand slam in an 18-14 victory over Muskingum in Port Charlotte, Fla.
In the bottom of the fourth, senior shortstop Daniel Donohue (Westbury, N.Y.) singled through the right side with one out. The 13th batter that Clark faced on Friday the 13th, designated hitter Cory Blankmeyer (Centerport, N.Y.), also singled through the right side.
Freshman catcher Christian Vargas (Melbourne, Fla.) drove a two-run single to left field to tie the score at 2-2, Donohue and Blankmeyer crossing the plate.
Militano, who finished 3-for-3 at the plate, led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to center. Junior outfielder Ryan Kelly (Waldwick, N.J.) followed with a single and then the duo pulled off a double steal with Militano scoring the go-ahead run. After a double by senior third baseman Joe Haley (No. Kingstown, R.I.), Kelly scored on Blankmeyer's sacrifice fly to right for a 4-2 lead for Salve Regina.
Tretter gave way to a series of Seahawk relievers. Junior Mike Schuermann (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) started the sixth and retired the only batter he faced on two pitches. Freshman Josh Monson (Bridgewater, Mass.) followed and gave up a double and walk before recording the next two outs.
Freshman lefty Jimmy Fitzgerald (Canton, Mass.) took over in the seventh and pitched the final three innings, striking out four Yellow Jackets and allowing just two batters to reach base - a basehit and a hit by pitch. It was the first save of the season for the Seahawks and the first collegiate save for Fitzgerald.
The Seahawks, who were limited to no inning starting after 12:15 p.m. due to a scheduled return flight home to Rhode Island, completed the victory in two hours and 19 minutes, leaving almost an hour of free time after the victory.
Salve Regina returns to action in Newport with a home game against WPI on Wednesday, March 18, pending field conditions and, of course, weather.