TOWSON, Md. – Making the second start of his young career, freshman righthander Taylor Clarke teamed up with senior righthander Tyler Austin to pitch a one-hit shutout in the second game as the Tigers (3-5) swept a doubleheader from Central Connecticut (0-2), 9-2 and 6-0, on Friday afternoon at John B. Schuerholz Park.
The Tigers, who were playing their first home games of the season, snapped a five-game losing streak with their opening game win.
Clarke earned the first win of his career by pitching six no-hit innings against the Blue Devils. He walked four and struck out five. He entered the seventh inning with a no-hitter. Leading off the seventh inning, senior third baseman Mitch Wells reached base on a throwing error by second baseman Pat Fitzgerald. Then, sophomore rightfielder Dylan Delacruz broke up the no-hitter with a clean single to right field.
With the drama ended, Austin came out of the bullpen and got J.P. Sportman to ground into a double play. He preserved the shutout by striking first baseman Mike Washburn.
The Tigers gave Clarke all the runs he needed by scoring four runs in the first two innings. Senior centerfielder Ben Winter (below) led off the first inning with a double to right c enter. After advancing to third base on a sacrifice bunt, he scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by junior catcher Andrew Parker.
In the second inning, the Tigers added three more runs.
Freshman first baseman Brendan Butler led off with a single and went to second
base on a sacrifice bunt. When junior Cody Reeves singled to right, Butler
scored to give Towson a 2-0 advantage. The Tigers proceeded to load the bases
on an infield single by Willard and a walk to sophomore shortstop Hunter Bennett.
Winter got a break when Washburn dropped a foul ball for an error. Given a second chance, Winter singled to right, driving in two more runs to increase the lead to 4-0.
In the fourth inning, Willard doubled and scored on an RBI single by Bennett to make it a 5-0 lead.
The Tigers added an insurance run in the fifth inning when Parker drew a leadoff walk and scored on a two-out single by junior third baseman Zach Fisher.
The Tigers, who had scored only one first inning run in their first six games, staged a two-run rally in the bottom of the first inning of the opener.
With one out, sophomore leftfielder Brandon Gonnella singled up the middle. On the first pitch he saw, sophomore rightfielder Dominic Fratantuono lined a triple to right center field, scoring Gonnella with the first run of the game. After Parker was retired on a pop-up, freshman designated hitter Peter Bowles lined a single to centerfield, driving in the second run of the inning. However, senior righthander Harry Glynne pitched out of the inning by retiring Butler on a fly ball to deep right.
The Tigers added an unearned run in the second inning as Willard reached base on an infield error with one out. Bennett grounded into a force play for the second out. Winter followed with a single to left on a hit-and-run play, the Tigers had runners on first and third with two outs. Glynne caught Winter leading off first base by too much and tried to pick him off base. However, Winter got trapped in a rundown while Bennett scored from third base to make it a 3-0 lead.
With one out in the third inning, the Tigers added two more runs. Fratantuono started the rally when he was hit by a pitch. After he stole second base, he advanced to third base on a sharp single to left by Parker. A sacrifice fly by Bowles drove in Fratantuono and allowed Parker to reach second base. Butler followed a single to center field, driving in Parker to make it 5-0.
Trionfo shut out Central Connecticut through the first three innings. Wells led off the fourth inning with a double to left. With one out, Sportman lined a two-run home run down the left field line to get the Blue Devils on the scoreboard, making it a 5-2 contest.
The Tigers got those runs back in the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, Bowles drew a walk. One out later, Fisher blasted a two-run homer over the right field fence, his first career home run and the Tigers’ first home run of the season.
In the sixth inning, Bennett singled and went to second base on a sacrifice bunt. A single by Gonnella put runners at the corners. When Gonnella and Bennett pulled off a double steal, the Tigers owned an 8-2 lead. With two outs, Parker had an RBI single to make it a 9-2 advantage.
Trionfo earned his second win of the season by pitching five innings of five-hit ball. He allowed two runs on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Freshman Nick Cioffi and junior Mike Ryan each pitched one shutout inning.
In the doubleheader, Tiger pitching held Central Connecticut to two runs on seven hits while striking out 14 batters.
Offensively, the Tigers scored 15 runs on 19 hits. Winter and Bennett led the Tigers in the doubleheader with two hits each.
The Tigers return to action on Sunday afternoon when they play a single game at the Naval Academy.