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Kurt Wertz hit his ninth and tenth home runs of the season against Northeastern.
Courtesy: Brendan Cavanaugh
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Kurt Wertz hit his ninth and tenth home runs of the season against Northeastern.
Wertz Lifts @Towson_BASE To Win Over Northeastern
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 05/16/2013
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TOWSON, Md. – Junior designated hitter Kurt Wertz continued his hot hitting with three hits and five runs batted in to lead the Tigers (24-27, 13-12) to a 14-1 Colonial Athletic Association victory over Northeastern University (27-23, 11-14) in the opening game of their three-game CAA series at John B. Schuerholz Park on Thursday afternoon.

With the win, the Tigers improved their seeding for the CAA Tournament at James Madison University next week. The Tigers, who clinched their second straight CAA Tournament berth over the weekend, are currently fourth in the CAA.

Wertz enjoyed his second two-homer game of the season as he lifted his batting average to .344. He now has a team-leading 10 home runs and a team high 54 runs batted in.

Wertz, who also scored three runs, had a single in the first inning before hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning. In the fifth inning, he broke the game open with the first grand slam homer of his career.

The Tigers grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, junior second baseman Pat Fitzgerald lifted his second home run of the season over the left field fence just inside the foul pole to give the Tigers the first run of the game. After Wertz singled to rightfield, sophomore leftfielder Peter Bowles blasted his seventh home run of the season over the left field fence to increase the lead to 3-0.

Making his final career start at Schuerholz Park, senior righthander Mike Volpe was helped out by double plays in the first two innings and he took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the third.

In the third inning, Wertz lined a leadoff home run down the rightfield line to up the lead to 4-0. It was his ninth home run of the season. With one out, junior Dominic Fratantuono singled to rightfield. Junior centerfielder Brandon Gonnella followed with a single to left. When senior catcher Andrew Parker was hit by a pitch, the Tigers had the bases loaded. Sophomore first baseman Brendan Butler came through with a single to left field, driving in two runs for a 6-0 Towson lead.

At that point, sophomore lefthander Isaac Lippert relieved starting pitcher James Mulry. After retiring junior shortstop Hunter Bennett on a popup, he gave up an RBI single to rightfield to third baseman Zach Fisher. That gave Towson a 7-0 advantage. When Fitzgerald reached on an error, Butler scored to give Towson an 8-0 lead. Wertz popped up to end the inning.

The Huskies broke through in the top of the fourth inning to score an unearned run against Volpe. With one out, junior leftfielder Brad Burcoff singled down the leftfield line. When he took a wide turn at first base, Bennett made a wild throw to first base, allowing Burcoff to move into scoring position. It was Towson’s first error in five games.

With two outs, freshman second baseman Michael Foster singled to left, driving in the Huskies’ first run of the game. Volpe pitched out of the inning when he struck out sophomore Jason Vosler.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Tigers added to their lead. Butler drew a leadoff walk and went to second base on a single by Bennett. After Fisher bunted the runners into scoring position, Fitzgerald drew a walk to load the bases. That set the stage for Wertz, who belted a grand slam over the rightfield fence, giving the Tigers a 12-1 lead.

Volpe, who earned his seventh win of the season, turned the game over to the Tiger bullpen in the sixth inning. Junior righthander Nik Nowottnick pitched two scoreless innings before freshman righthander Joe Patton finished up with two more scoreless innings.

Volpe, who upped his record to 7-3, allowed no earned runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in five innings of work.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers added to their 12-1 lead. Fisher led off the inning and reached base when he was hit by a pitch. When Fitzgerald and Wertz also walked, the Tigers had the bases loaded with no outs. A walk to Bowles drove in another run, giving Towson a 13-1 advantage. Pinch hitter Cody Reeves delivered another RBI single to give the Tigers a 14-1 lead before sophomore righthander Matt Goreham retired the next three hitters.

Wertz, who is batting .453 with eight homers and 29 RBI’s in his last 19 games, led the Tigers’ 13-hit attack by going three-for-four with a walk. Butler added two hits and also drove in two runs while Fisher had two hits and drew a walk.

The Huskies, who were held to six hits, were led junior Sean Lyons and Foster, who each had two hits.

The Tigers, who had three double plays in the game, continue to lead NCAA Division I in double plays. They have turned 71 double plays in 51 games.

The Tigers, who recorded their most one-sided victory of the season, will return to action on Friday, May 17 when they host Northeastern in the second game of their three-game weekend series. Northeastern is still seeking a berth in the CAA Tournament next week.

 


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