Hunter Bennett had two of the Tigers' four hits against Army.
Courtesy: Brendan Cavanaugh
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Hunter Bennett had two of the Tigers' four hits against Army.
Tigers Edge Army On Combined Two-Hitter
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 02/28/2014
BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Junior righthander Chris Acker teamed up with sophomore righthander Garrett Walther and senior righthander Brandon Gonnella to pitch a two-hitter as the Tigers (5-2) edged Army (4-3) in the opening round of the Campbell University Classic at Jim Perry Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Acker and junior righthander Alex Robinett  were engaged in a pitchers’ duel for most of the game as Towson protected its 1-0 lead.

The Tigers scored the first run of the game in the second inning. Junior Peter Bowles drew a walk to lead off the inning. He advanced to second base when first baseman Brendan Butler grounded out to second base. After Chris Henze struck out, senior second baseman Hunter Bennett singled to left field, driving in Bowles to give Towson a 1-0 lead. Bennett was thrown out at second base, trying to stretch his hit into a double.

In the bottom of the second inning, Army loaded the bases with two outs but Acker pitched out of trouble by retiring rightfielder Jon Crucitti on a pop-up.

Acker protected the 1-0 lead through the first five innings. At that point, he turned the game over to sophomore righthander Garrett Walther. In his five innings, Acker shut out Army on one hit. He walked five and struck out two.

In the eighth inning, the Tigers rallied to score twice and it turned out they would need those runs. Bennett led off with a single to centerfield, his second hit of the game. When Mike Draper tried to bunt him over, there was an error and he reached base. When Zach Fisher drew a walk, the bases were loaded with no outs.

Senior Pat Fitzgerald came through with a single to left field, driving in Bennett with the second run of the game. Gonnella hit a comebacker to Brian Hapeman, Army’s second pitcher of the game. Hapeman threw to home plate to get a force play, retiring Draper. However, catcher Ben Smith’s throw to first base was wild and Fisher scored to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Hapeman worked his way out of the jam by striking out Kurt Wertz while Fitzgerald was thrown out trying to steal third base.

After shutting out Army for two innings, Walther walked second baseman Harold Earls to start the eighth inning. After allowing a single to Mark McCants, he was relieved by Gonnella. Gonnella retired Jacob Page on a fly ball to left field. But, he walked Brock Davidson to load the bases with one out. Leftfielder Daniel Cortes hit a ground ball to first where Butler threw to Gonnella covering the base as Earls scored Army’s first run of the game. When Gonnella hit shortstop Alex Jensen with a pitch, the bases were loaded again.

Gonnella worked out of the inning by retiring Smith on a force play.

Despite a two-out error in the bottom of the ninth, Gonnella nailed down the save by retiring the Cadets.

The Tigers out-hit Army by a 4-2 margin as Bennett singled twice and scored a run with one RBI. Fitzgerald and Bowles had the Tigers’ other two hits.

Acker picked up his first win of the season while Gonnella earned his second save. Gonnella pitched two innings and allowed no runs or hits with two strikeouts. Walther gave up one run on hit in his two innings of work.

Robinett pitched very well in the loss. He pitched seven innings and gave up two runs on two hits with four walks and eight strikeouts.

The Tigers return to action on Saturday when they face Albany at 12 noon.


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