LEESBURG, Fla. – The Allegheny baseball squad made its annual trek down to Central Florida for the RussMatt Invitational on Saturday morning, and they came away with their first win of the season, splitting a double header with Hope College. The Flying Dutchmen took game one 5-2, while the Gators bounced back nicely with a great pitching performance from Eric Brandt to take game two 6-3.
The opening game didn't start as well as Allegheny had planned, as Hope would score five runs in the first two innings to jump out to a 5-0 lead. The ball would not bounce the Gators way early on, as the ground was still warming up as play started at 10:00 am.
Allegheny would get on the board in the bottom of the second, as senior Ben Lowmaster would lead off the inning with a single to left. After a passed ball moved him to second, and a Shane Regal fly out advanced him to third, Mike Pezzone drove Lowmaster in to cut the lead to four.
While Davis would catch fire the rest of the way, finishing the game throwing seven innings, giving up no runs after the second and striking out two; Allegheny could not muster enough offense to get back into the game as the Gators fell 2-5.
The second game of the double header started off where game one started, with pitching and defense dominating. Hope scored the only run of the opening three innings; however, the Allegheny bats would come alive in the top of the fourth.
Eric Hansen got things started off in the inning with a single to right center field. Lowmaster followed with another single, then Pezzone drove Hansen home with a single of his own. With Lowmaster on third, and Pezzone on second after a productive out from John Boyd, the Gators would get their second run on a passed ball while Pezzone galloped over to third. Junior Mike Kastelic would drive Pezzone home with a single up the middle, as Allegheny took a 3-1 lead.
The Gators would put another three spot up in the sixth, as Hope would help Allegheny out by forcing two errors; while Jeff Dassner would drive in the other run, giving Allegheny a 6-1 lead.
The Flying Dutchmen would mount a rally in the bottom of the seventh, but Allegheny would close the door and hold on for their first win of the season, defeating Hope 6-3.
Brandt had a very strong outing, going 6.1 innings, scattering 12 hits and allowing just three earned runs. Freshman Paul Vojtek recorded his first career save, and Pezzone went 1-2 with one RBI and two runs scored to lead the Gators.
Allegheny will be back in action tomorrow, as they will travel to Winter Haven, Florida to take on the Dutchmen of Union College. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 pm.