Guilford College Baseball Drops ODAC Opening Doubleheader to Virginia Wesleyan

Baseball Drops ODAC Opening Doubleheader to Virginia Wesleyan
Quakers cannot find traction against Marlins
from Bryce Johnson, Director of Athletic Communications at Guilford College

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Finally hitting the road for the first time all season, and opening Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) play, the Guilford College baseball team fell to Virginia Wesleyan, 14-4 and 7-0 on Friday afternoon at Perry Field.

These were the first two conference contests for the Quakers as they fall to 0-2 against ODAC foes and 5-10 overall. The Marlins improve to 9-5, 2-0 in league play.

Marcello Ricigliano (Kernersville, N.C.) fell to 2-1 getting hit early and often in the game one start, allowing 11 runs, all earned, on 11 hits, he hit two batters and struck out four. Ian Brady went the first 4.0 innings for the Marlins, allowing four runs, none of them earned, on six hits and two walks, he struck out six but did not qualify for the win. Instead, Nick Beatty gets the victory pitching three innings of one-hit baseball in relief to improve to 2-0.

Isaiah Hairston (High Point, N.C.) went 2-of-4 with a double, driving in two for the Quakers in the first contest. Ethan George (Burlington, N.C.) collected three hits while Devin Tonkins (Greensboro, N.C.) had a hit and drew a walk, scoring once. Chris Mitchell Jr. led the hosts’ offensively, homering and doubling on his way to a career-high six runs batted in while going 3-for-5 at the plate, scoring thrice, and stealing a bag. Clay Clarke added three RBI’s on a 2-for-5 afternoon and Micah Fox wet 3-of-4 with a walk and two doubles, scoring on three occasions.

It was Jacob Ray (Burlington, N.C.) who got the game two nod, throwing 3.1 innings allowing six runs, four earned, on eight hits although he only walked one. He fell to 0-2 as a result. Jack McDowell took the ball for VMU, and was really good throwing 5.0 innings of shutout baseball allowing six hits and two walks against five strikeouts to improve to 2-1.

Skylar Dark (Pleasant Garden, N.C.), Michael Sumner (Mooresville, N.C.), and Hairston all had two hits in the loss for Guilford, with Hairston collecting another double. Thomas Crandall had a day to remember for the hosts, with his first collegiate multi-homer game and driving in a four of their seven runs, good for a career-high. Michael Burton Jr. walked twice and got two hits in three at bats, recording a triple, scoring once, and driving in another.

Batting first for the first time all season, the Quakers would take advantage in the top of the first. Skylar Dark (Pleasant Garden, N.C.) continued to be the on-base machine as he has been for the past week, working a leadoff walk. He advanced on a weird little jam-job groundout to the pitcher by Michael Sumner (Mooresville, N.C.) than came home with some heads-up baserunning, scoring from second on a grounder that got through the shortstop off the bat of Aaron Williams (Mocksville, N.C.).

The Marlins responded in the home half. Thomas Crandall led off with a double, took third on a passed ball and scored on a Michael Burton Jr. single through the right side. Micah Fox doubled to put two runners on and Chris Mitchell Jr. brought them all home taking the 2-1 pitch from Marcello Ricigliano (Kernersville, N.C.) to dead center and over the fence for his second home run of the season, giving the hosts the lead, 4-1.

The top of the Virginia Wesleyan lineup went back to work in the third. Clay Clarke and Burton Jr. each singled before Fox dropped down a sacrifice bunt attempt but placed it perfectly for a hit. A wild pitch brought in a run before Mitchell Jr. eclipsed his career-high for RBI’s, driving in two with a single. RBI knocks by Samuel Kasprow and Josh Goodrich, followed by Clarke’s second hit of the inning, this one plating a pair, extended the lead to 11-1 through three.

Guilford did close the gap in the top of the fourth with a two-out rally. Devin Tonkins (Greensboro, N.C.) drew a walk and advanced on a passed ball. GC and Dark got a stroke of luck when Marlins’ shortstop Keegan Megaro botched what would have been an inning-ending groundout before Sumner made it hurt with a single to the opposite field. Isaiah Hairston (High Point, N.C.) also went oppo, splitting the gap in left-center to bring in both runs as the deficit was now back to 11-4.

The Marlins finalized the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the fourth and a single run in the fifth before the final four frames proceeded in uneventful fashion.

Guilford squandered a couple of pristine scoring opportunities early in game two, loading the bases with no one out in the top of the first then doing the same, albeit with two outs in the second. In between, Virginia Wesleyan, like in the first contest, claimed a lead they would never relinquish. Thomas Crandall got it started by leading off the game for Virginia Wesleyan with his second homer of the season. Clay Clarke followed with the Marlins’ second extra-base hit in a row, with a double. He came home as Michael Burton Jr. reached on an E6 with Burton Jr. eventually scoring on a Jackson Hughes single making the score 3-0.

Jacob Ray (Burlington, N.C.) settled in for a couple of innings, but the hosts created some distance in the fourth. The eighth- and ninth-hole hitters for VWU, Nathan Bryant and Samuel Kasprow, each singled flipping the lineup over and Crandall connected on his second home run in the game, making the score 6-0.

Once again, things settled down against the Quaker bullpen with Jackson Marcellus (Chapel Hill, N.C.) throwing 2.2 scoreless innings and allowing the Guilford offense to try and mount a comeback, but unfortunately it never came as the first couple innings proved insightful for the rest of the game as the Quakers left 14 men on base.

A single run by VMU in the eighth on a Burton Jr. triple brought the final score to 7-0.

Guilford gets a couple of days off before Eastern Connecticut State University comes to town for a Monday-Tuesday series. Monday’s first pitch is set for 2:00 PM.