Pioneers fall in baseball opener at Embry-Riddle

Daulton Martin homered to extend his hitting streak to 12 straight games (photo by Chris Lenker)
Daulton Martin homered to extend his hitting streak to 12 straight games (photo by Chris Lenker)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. --- Zach Howard homered twice, including a three-run blast to highlight a seven-run, sixth inning as Embry-Riddle defeated visiting Tusculum 10-3 Thursday afternoon at Sliwa Stadium in the season-opener for both teams.

The Eagles (1-0) finished the game with 11 hits, including five in the sixth inning as ERAU sent 10 batters to the plate.                                                           

Howard finished the game with four RBI while Luis Olivier, Kyle Marsh and Cole Habig accounted for two hits apiece.

The Eagles broke through in the bottom of the third when Habig was hit by a pitch from TC starter Andrew Willis.  He moved to second on a bunt and onto third on a one-out single from Kyle Guttveg.  Willis struck out Malone for the second out of the inning, but Marsh lined a single to left to drive in the game's first run.

The Pioneers (0-1) answered in the top of the fourth inning when Daulton Martin hit a solo homer to left field to even the score at 1-1.

In the bottom of the inning, Howard led off with his first home run of the day, a blast to center field.  After Willis got the next two batters out on a strikeout and a fly out, Habig doubled to the gap in left field. He would come into score on a pair of wild pitches as the Eagles led 3-1.

In the top of the sixth, Martin and Bradley Evans reached on back-to-back errors to start the frame. Garrett Dupuis bunted them over to set the table for catcher Nate Montgomery as he lined a one-out singled to left field to drive in the tying runs and knot the score at 3-3.

TC relieve reliever Eamonn Collins got out of an inherit jam in the fifth inning and would face another one if the sixth as Christian Jaworski reached on an error to start the inning.  After a bunt moved him over, Habig blooped a hit into right field, but the ball when the ball landed and took a sharp hop away from outfielder Sam Urban as Jaworksi scored and Habig dove into third with a RBI triple. 

Mitchell Lindheim doubled to drive in Habig with the second run of the inning.  Guttveg lined out sharply to Martin at second base for the second out.  Collins hit Jake Malone with a 2-2 pitch and Marsh followed with a lined shot back to the mound as Collins kept the ball in the infield to load the bases. 

TC reliever Charles Hall came aboard to face Olivier as he doubled down the right field line to bring in two runs.  Howard followed by belting a three-run shot to left to blow the game open.

Nick Dearing (1-0), who relieved Embry-Riddle starter Matthew Russell in the sixth inning, pitched three shutout frames limiting the Pioneers to a pair of hits and recorded a strikeout to pick up the victory.       

Tusculum finished with seven hits in the game as Montgomery led the charge with his two singles in his Pioneer debut.

Collins (0-1) was charged with the loss as he went one inning, allowed three hits, five runs with only one of them being earned. 

Tusculum pitchers Pedro Rodriguez and Trevor Lloyd pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

Martin's home run extends his personal hitting streak to 12 straight games dating back to last season.  The Preseason All-Region and All-South Atlantic Conference honoree has also reached base in his last 13 outings.

Tusculum is back in action on Friday night as the Pioneers continue their Florida road swing and face 12th-ranked Nova Southeastern in Ft. Lauderdale.