CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – The Franklin College baseball team put on an offensive display on their way to an opening day sweep of Penn St.-Behrend on Sunday (Feb. 25) afternoon.
Senior Frank Podkul belted four home runs and drove in seven runs on the day, which included a three-home run performance in game one. Ryan Bixler drove in six runs and Ryan Erlandson brought home four runs as Franklin took a 15-3 decision in game one and a 15-6 win in game two.
Game One: Franklin 15 – Penn St.-Behrend 3
Franklin put a crooked number on the board in their first trip to the plate. After an error brought Bixler home for the first run of the day, Podkul belted a long home run over the right center field wall to make it 3-0. An inning later, Bixler stretched the lead to 5-0 with a two-run double to left field.
Jarrod Smith stretched the lead to 6-0 with a sacrifice fly in the top of the third. The Lions got on the board in the top of the fifth, but Franklin would get back-to-back solo shots from Nick Wright and Podkul to make it 8-1 after five.
Franklin turned to the long ball to extend their lead in the sixth, getting a two-run blast from Bixler and a three-run shot from Podkul to blow the game wide open. Quenton Wellington capped the scoring for Franklin with a pinch hit two-run double in the bottom of the seventh.
Game Two: Franklin 15 – Penn St.-Behrend 6
Down by a run after an inning, the Grizzlies erased the early deficit thanks to back-to-back RBI doubles from Brandt Pawley and Erlandson to make it a 3-1 game. The Grizzlies added to the lead in the third when Alex Mis and Podkul scored on a two-out error.
The Lions cut the lead in half in their half of the third, but Franklin would get a run back in the fourth on a Sam Claycamp sacrifice fly. Podkul connected for a solo shot in the fifth and Erlandson made it an 8-3 game with an RBI single in the sixth to make it 8-6 Grizzlies.
Leading 9-6 going into the ninth, the Grizzlies put the game out of reach with a six-run frame. Drew Naumovich drove in two with a double and scored later in the inning on an Erlandson sacrifice fly. Jarrod Scored on an infield grounder before Wright capped the scoring with a two-run double.
Franklin will make their home debut on Friday (Mar. 2), when they welcome the Britons of Albion College to John P. McDowell Field. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.