FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College baseball team had their eyes on a weekend sweep on Saturday (Mar. 3) afternoon when they took on Albion College in a double-header at John P. McDowell Field.
The Grizzlies (5-0) remained perfect on the year and completed their weekend sweep of the Britons (0-3) with two impressive victories on Saturday afternoon. In game one, the Grizzlies broke out with a five-run third inning that set the tone for an 11-1 win. The second contest was another pitcher's duel, but Franklin secured a 4-1 win to close out the weekend.
Sophomore Brandt Pawley finished the day with five hits, including a 4-for-4 effort in game two. Fellow sophomore Nick Wright drove in three runs on the day, belting his third home run of the year and second in as many days in game one.
Game One: Franklin 11 – Albion 1
The Grizzlies blew game one wide open with a two-out rally in the third inning. Franklin put the first three batters on base in the inning before two straight outs put the Britons on the cusp of escaping the jam before Frank Podkul singled up the middle to score a pair. Following another walk to load up the bases again, Drew Naumovich dealt the Britons a critical blow with a bases-clearing double that made it 5-0.
Franklin added to the lead with an RBI ground out from Ryan Bixler in the fourth and a lead-off blast from Wright in the fifth that made it 7-0 Grizzlies. One inning later, Wright added another RBI with a bases-loaded walk and Ryan Erlandson would come in to score later on a wild pitch.
The 11 runs was more than enough support for starter Aaron Leming, who moved to 2-0 on the year after allowing one run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work. Nate Stonebraker and Mitch Merica combined to allow just two hits over the final 3 2/3 innings in securing the win.
Game Two: Franklin 4 – Albion 1
Both starters had their best stuff working early in game two, as Franklin's Mitchell Caster and Albion's Mitch Shedlowsky put up three spotless innings each to open the game.
Albion would capture their first lead of the weekend in the top of the fourth on an RBI single from Kellen Huang. But the lead was short-lived as Franklin answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. With two outs in the inning, Pawley brought home a run on an infield single to tie the game. One batter later, Pawley intentionally got in a rundown between first and second, with the distraction allowing Jarrod Smith to score from third before Pawley was tagged out to end the inning.
Wright added to the Grizzly lead in the bottom of the fifth with a double to center that scored Bixler. Pawley added his second RBI single of the day in the sixth, scoring Smith with two outs to make it a 4-1 game.
That proved to be all the help Caster needed to move to 1-0 on the year. The senior pitcher allowed just three hits and struck out seven over six innings of work before giving the ball to Jackson White, who worked the final three innings to earn his first career save.
Franklin looks to keep their perfect season going in six days, when they open up a three-game home set with Calvin College on Friday, Mar. 9. First pitch from McDowell Field is set for 3:30 p.m.