WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Powered by a season-high 19 hits, the Franklin College baseball team closed out their spring break trip on a high note, downing Union College (N.Y.) by a 15-11 score on Wednesday (Mar. 27) morning.
All nine members of the starting lineups had at least one hit for the Grizzlies (10-6) as Franklin tormented Union (2-5) from start to finish. Sam Claycamp, Drew Naumovich and Blake Fisher all had three hits against the Dutchmen in a game that saw five different Grizzlies drive in multiple runs.
The offensive explosion began just two batters into the game when Ryan Bixler smacked a pitch over the left field wall for his fourth home run of the year and a 1-0 Franklin lead. Union grabbed their only lead of the day with a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the inning, but Franklin would take an insurmountable lead in their next two trips to the plate.
Each of the first three batters reached to open the second, loading the bases for freshman infielder Fisher. The Bedford, Ind.-native rewarded his coach's decision to start him for the first time, ripping a single into center field that scored Naumovich and tied the game. Quenton Wellington put the Grizzlies back in front with another single later in the inning and Claycamp would go on to plate a pair with a single, the Grizzlies' third bases-loaded hit of the inning that made it a 5-2 game.
With one out in the top of the third, Fisher extended the Franklin lead with his first career home run, a three-run blast over the left field wall. Wellington plated another run later in the inning with a sacrifice fly to make it a 9-2 game after three. Alex Mis put the Grizzlies in double figures on the scoreboard in the fourth, driving in a pair with a single.
The Dutchmen cut into the lead with a four-run fourth inning but three innings later, Wellington got one run back when he belted his third long ball of the year to lead off the seventh and make it a 12-6 game. Union chopped the lead in half with three runs in their half of the inning, but Franklin would respond with three runs of their own in the eighth. Bixler brought home a run with a two-out double and back-to-back wild pitches allowed two runs to score later in the frame to cap the scoring for Franklin.
Franklin will trek back to the Midwest to prepare for their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) opening games, which take place on Sunday (Mar. 31) in Lexington, Ky. for two games against the Transylvania Pioneers. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m.