WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Franklin College baseball team hit the road for their first true road game of the year on Saturday (Mar. 16), opening a three-game home-and-home series with the Wilmington Quakers.
Franklin (3-2) jumped out to an early lead before holding off a late charge from the Quakers (2-10) for a 7-5 win, getting back in the win column. Senior Drew Naumovich and junior Jarrod Smith drove in three runs each for the Grizzlies, who snapped a two-game slide with the win.
The Grizzlies jumped on top in their half of the first inning, when Naumovich singled home Ryan Bixler from second with two outs in the inning. Two innings later, the senior first baseman padded the lead with a two-out double to right center field, scoring Brandy Pawley and Alex Mis. Smith would bring his teammate in one batter later, ripping a single into left field to make it a 4-0 game.
Franklin loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the fifth inning, bringing Smith to the plate with a chance to add some insurance. The Frankfort, Ind.-native would do just that, sending a pitch back up the middle that allowed Mis and Sam Claycamp to score. Pawley made it a 7-0 game in the sixth, singling home Quenton Wellington from third base after he led off the inning with a triple.
Wilmington would break through in their half of the seventh, scoring four times to get back within striking distance. The Quakers added a run in the ninth and had the winning run at the plate with one out, but Nate Stonebraker induced a game-ending double play to nail down his second save of the year.
Aaron Leming (2-0) remained perfect on the year, scattering seven hits while fanning six over 6.1 innings of work. Tyler Robinson made his first appearance out of the bullpen, combining with Mitch Merica to get the ball to Stonebraker for the final three outs.
Franklin and Wilmington are set to play a pair of games on Sunday (Mar. 17) afternoon. The two teams will head north to Bishop Chatard High School, with first pitch of game one set for 1:00 p.m.