FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Nichols College baseball team fell to Johns Hopkins, 6-1, and Knox, 22-4, in a pair of nine inning games on Wednesday at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic.
In the eye-opener, senior John Micciche (Holbrook, Mass.) batted 2-for-3 with an RBI to pace the Bison offensively. Junior Tyler Shute (Mashpee, Mass.) surrendered six runs – four earned – on 11 hits and struck out four in a 106-pitch complete game.
Sophomore Colin McCarthy (Westport, Conn.) and senior Ryan Zakszeski (Gilbertsville, Pa.) each had a trio of hits for Johns Hopkins while senior Matt Ricci (Collegeville, Pa.) chipped in with two. Freshman Colin Friedman (Santa Fe, N.M.) scattered four hits over seven and two-thirds innings allowing one run – zero earned - and struck out five batters. Sophomore Justin Dreschel (Springfield, Va.) and junior Ed Bryner (Prince Frederick, Md.) surrendered one hit apiece in relief.
The Blue Jays dented the scoreboard in the top of the second for an early 1-0 lead. Johns Hopkins looked to manufacture a run in the top of the fifth but was thwarted by Micciche who erased the lead runner at home to keep the game within one.
In the second contest of the day, sophomore Brett Franciosi (Leominster, Mass.) batted 3-for-4 with a run scored and sophomore Collin Geagan (Watertown, Mass.) went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI for the Bison. First-year Ryan Pichel (Littleton, Mass.), junior Shayne McNally (Auburn, Mass.) and first-year Benjamin Harrow (North Reading, Mass.) shared time on the mound.
Eleven different Knox batters recorded multiple hits while junior Peter Marquardt (Clarendon Hills, Ill.) did not allow an earned run on five hits in six innings of work. Sophomore Andrew Sparrow (Sullivan, Ill.), freshman Mitch Weissenhofer (Homewood, Ill.) and junior Dustin Armstrong (Cincinnati, Ohio) each saw time on the mound in relief. Marquardt led the Prairie Fire taff with five strikeouts as Armstrong fanned three.
Knox scored almost all the runs they needed in the first inning as they pushed four runners across. Nichols responded as first-year Brady Boisvert (Plainfield, N.H.) lifted a sacrifice fly to center field and Geagan connected on an RBI double to right field.
The Prairie Fire picked up three more scores in the second and held the 7-2 advantage until adding another run in the fifth and sixth. After Knox posed five more runs in the top of the seventh, Boisvert drew a bases loaded walk to plate first-year Kevin Cotton (Westminster, Mass.) in the bottom of the frame.
Knox then erupted for six more tallies in the eighth and finished with two in the ninth. Nichols posted the final run of the game as Shute, who picked up his first career hit in a pinch hitting appearance to lead off the inning, scored on a passed ball.
Nichols (1-7) faces Wooster tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. for its only game of the day at the Player Development Complex field five. Knox (2-1) plays Southern Vermont at 10:00 a.m. and Lawrence at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow while Johns Hopkins (11-2) takes on Wis.-Stout at 10:00 a.m.