FRANKLIN, Ind. – The #22-ranked Franklin College baseball team opened the 2019 season on Friday (Mar. 1) afternoon, taking on the Albion College Britons on a frigid day at John P. McDowell Field.
Junior Quenton Wellington singled three times and drove in three runs in his first career start while fellow junior Alex Mis belted a solo home run to open the scoring. Franklin's (1-0) pitching staff limited the Britons (0-1) to just five hits on the afternoon, closing out a 4-1 opening day victory.
Mis opened the scoring in his first at-bat of the afternoon, turning on a two-strike pitch and launching the delivery well over the left field wall, giving the Grizzlies a 1-0 lead on their first hit of the day. Later in the inning, Wellington delivered his first hit of the day, sending a pitch back up the middle for a single that scored Drew Naumovich from third to put the Grizzlies ahead by a pair.
Albion put together their first threat of the day in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with nobody out without the ball leaving the infield. But the Britons would squander a golden chance, as Jordan Clark induced a lineout and consecutive strikeouts to end the inning and the threat.
Franklin would come up empty with the bags full in the fifth, but would get some insurance in their half of the sixth. Following a double steal by Naumovich and Matt Olovich that put two in scoring position, Wellington came through again with a single back up the middle that plated both runners and made it a 4-0 game.
The Britons would get their only run of the day in the top of the seventh, scoring an unearned run on a wild pitch. It was the only threat the hosts would provide over the final few innings, as the Franklin bullpen allowed just three hits over the final four innings to put the finishing touches on the win.
Clark (1-0) put together five strong innings of work to earn the win, allowing just two hits while striking out eight on 90 pitches. Following three innings of two-hit ball from Ben Sprinkle, Nate Stonebraker took over in the ninth and faced the minimum to earn the save.
The two teams are back at it on Saturday (Mar. 2) for two games at John P. McDowell Field. First pitch of game one is set for noon.