The Gannon University baseball team kicked off its season on the road last weekend by splitting a pair of doubleheaders against Limestone College, down south in Gaffney, S.C.
The Knights fell 7-6 in the opening game of their first doubleheader Saturday before rebounding to take the second game, 16-12.
In Sunday’s twinbill, Gannon dropped a 5-4 decision in Game 1 before taking the nightcap, 7-1, to earn a split on the weekend.
This marked the first time Gannon had lost its season-opener since 2011.
Redshirt freshman Nate Cardy led Gannon in the second-game win Saturday, finishing 4-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBIs.
Kyle Cox also had an impressive performance in the win, going 3-for-5 with a run scored while driving in four, including a key RBI double, and Jared Wiesen went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and scored three times.
Mark DeVita and Chris Beer also scored three runs apiece for the Knights, who pounded out 14 hits.
True freshman Matthew Yough earned his first career victory in his collegiate debut, allowing a run in almost two innings of relief work.
Gannon used an eight-run fourth inning rally to erase a 10-4 deficit and scored four times in the final two innings for the win.
Nick Rustuccia drove in a run in the second inning in game one, and DeVita smacked a leadoff home run in the seventh inning to tie the game and the Knights turned a double play in the bottom of the inning to send the game to extra innings.
Gannon failed to push a run across in the eighth despite putting runners at second and third and Limestone took advantage by plating the winning run in the bottom of the inning.
Matt Oruch had a pair of hits and scored twice in the opener.
Following Saturday’s doubleheader, a 10-hit offensive assault and an excellent pitching performance by junior Santiago Mendez enabled Gannon to earn its second consecutive split Sunday afternoon in Gaffney against the Saints.
Gannon was able to keep the score in game one close, but ultimately could not catch up to Limestone College, losing 5-4 to the Saints.
Cardy went 3-for-3, driving in two runs while Oruch also finished with a pair of RBIs. The Knights outhit the Saints, 10-9, with Wiesen adding three hits and DeVita contributing a pair.
Gannon starter David Cricks went the distance and also yielded two walks to go with three earned runs.
Mendez only allowed four hits and just two walks while striking out five in the second game of Sunday’s double feature, giving Gannon the boost it needed to scoot past the Saints.
Gannon collected 10 more hits in the win, with Wiesen, Cardy, Cox and Bobby Roach each getting two. Cardy drove in two of the Knights’ seven runs.
The 2-2 Knights head south once again next week for the team’s annual spring break trip to the Russ-Matt Invitational in Winter Haven, Fla.
Invitational play begins at 9:30 a.m. Sunday against Cleary.
Spring break for the Gannon baseball players will hardly be much of a break. The Knights will compete in six doubleheaders over seven days while in Florida.