The Gannon University baseball team is 8-6 after trips to South Carolina and Florida to start its 2018 campaign. The Knights kicked off the season Feb. 17-18 in Gaffney, S.C., splitting a doubleheader with Long Island University.
Gannon lost the first game, 7-2, but came back and won the second one, 8-7, on senior Kyle Cox’s deciding two-run home run. Junior Cory Hegedus also picked up his first career win.
Gannon swept Limestone College the next day, winning 8-3 in the first game of the doubleheader and shutting out the Saints, 3-0, in the second.
After two days in South Carolina, the team took a week off before heading to the Russ-Matt Invitational in Auburndale, Fla.
The Knights kicked off their campaign Sunday splitting two games with Davenport University winning the first, 8-2, and losing the second, 11-3. Junior Matthew Yough was the winning pitcher in the first game.
The next day, Gannon lost a morning doubleheader to Wayne State University; however, junior Dominic Mori had four hits and two RBIs with one home run in the first game.
The Knights split the third doubleheader of the trip to Florida with the University of Michigan-Dearborn. They lost the first game, 10-3, but turned the tables in the second game and won, 10-2.
In the second game, Mori knocked one over the fence for his second home run of the year and senior Gregory Nicolia had two hits and one RBI. Sophomore Brandon Weber pitched Gannon to victory in game two for his first win as a Knight.
After a day off, the Knights came back to a doubleheader against the University of Mary Friday and won both games, 9-5 and 11-4.
Junior Jarod Morrison picked up his first win of the season in the opening game of the doubleheader. Freshman Jonathan Pence and Hegedus also contributed to the win from the mound.
The Marauders opened the game with one run in the second, and Gannon responded with three in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore Elijah Quiceno scored the first run after a single and was advanced to second after Mori was hit by a pitch. Mori moved to second after senior Matt Oruch reached on a fielder’s choice and Quiceno scored.
Mori scored on a single by redshirt sophomore Jared Beach and redshirt junior Nate Cardy was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give Gannon a 3-1 edge.
Mary cut the lead to one after scoring a run in the third; however, Gannon responded in the bottom of the third after Nicolia hit a two-run single to left field, which advanced junior Ian Steighner to second. He later scored on a single by senior Mike Colosi. The Knights had a 6-2 lead after the third inning.
A fielding snafu in center field allowed Nicolia and Beach to score in the fifth inning. Colosi also scored on Cardy’s double, giving the Knights three more runs, increasing the score to 9-2.
The Marauders had a seventh-inning push in an attempt to come back, but were only able to cut the deficit to 9-5, and Gannon added one more notch in the win column.
Mary had one more opportunity to beat the Knights, but Gannon prevailed, 11-4. Mary opened the scoring in the first putting one on the board, but the Knights scored five in the top of the second.
Sophomore Austin O’Shei and Oruch attacked the right side of the field. O’Shei started with a double scoring two an Oruch scored one on a single. Colosi switched it up and ended the effort with a two-run single to the left side.
The Knights were up 5-1in the fourth when Mori stepped to the plate and brought Quiceno home on a double, increasing the lead to 6-1.
Mary scored twice in the bottom of the inning and both teams scored in the sixth. Quiceno singled home Cox, and after a run by Mary in the bottom of the inning the score was 7-4.
Gannon added four more in the seventh inning. Beach scored first after singling to center and advancing to second after senior Cody Callaway was hit by a pitch. O’Shei reached second after a throwing error, allowing Callaway to advance to third and Beach to score.
Oruch then hit singled, which scored Callaway and O’Shei advanced to third. Oruch reached second after Colosi was hit by a pitch and then Oruch advanced to third after Cox hit a sacrifice fly, scoring O’Shei.
Colosi then stole second and Oruch stole home for the 11th and final run of the game.
Hegedus came in to pitch for Yough, who stepped in after senior Jason Beaumont threw five innings. Hegedus closed out the 11-4 win for Gannon after striking out the first and second batter and he handled a grounder and threw out the third batter for the final out.
Beaumont earned his first career victory in the win.
Gannon concluded the RussMatt Invitational with a doubleheader against Walsh University from North Canton, Ohio.
Gannon fell in game one, 5-4, but won the second, 13-2. In game one, the Knights got on the board in the fourth after Colosi hit a double to right field and Cardy followed with a single. Colosi scored on a single by Mori and Cardy came home on a fielding error.
Nicolia tied it up in the sixth with a two-run home run for his second of the season and career.
Walsh snapped the tie in the top of the seventh, winning the game, 5-4.
Gannon came back in the second game with a vengeance that unfolded at the plate.
Cox kicked off the scoring bringing in Mori from third after a fielder’s choice in the second inning.
The Knights found fire in the fourth as they scored seven times that inning. Beach ignited the inning with a two-run double to right. Oruch scored Beach and Cardy recorded an RBI single. Mori followed it up with a double to give Gannon a 6-0 lead. The Knights scored two more runs off Walsh fielding errors.
With two out in the fifth, Cardy brought Oruch in and Mori collected his second RBI of the contest.
Quiceno drove Cardy in on a single and Mori scored on an error by Walsh, putting the Knights ahead, 12-2.
Steighner brought in redshirt senior Rob Pieszak from third on a groundout to shortstop to end the scoring for both teams and Hegedus closed out the bottom of the inning as Gannon won 13-2.
Cardy, Mori and Beach finished with two RBIs apiece and Mori, Quiceno and Steighner recorded a team-high three hits. Freshman Deven Judy received his first win as a Knight and Callaway saw the mound for the first time for Gannon, pitching two innings.
In seven appearances, Hegedus has given up eight hits and has a 1.35 ERA. Yough has only allowed three walks in seven appearances on the mound.
The Knights won’t take the field again until March 17 when they travel to Ashland University for a St. Patrick’s Day doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.