Panther baseball opens season with 3-2 mark

ATLANTA — The Middlebury College baseball team won three of four recent games to improve to 3-2 heading into the team’s annual trip to Florida, which will begin with games this Saturday and conclude with three games the following weekend with NESCAC West rival Hamilton.
On this past weekend the Panthers took two of three games from host Emory (6-8) in Atlanta, sweeping a Saturday doubleheader, 10-5 and 16-5, and falling on Sunday, 8-2.
In Saturday’s opener Panther ace Colby Morris got the win, going seven innings and allowing three runs on four hits. Hayden Smith (two RBISs) and Henry Strmecki (two runs) each poked three hits to lead the offense, Sam Graf drilled a two-run triple, and leadoff hitter Justin Han scored twice.
The Panthers fell behind early, 3-0, in the nightcap, but broke out the lumber to win easily. Bobby Sullivan picked up the win with three innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit with a pair of strikeouts.
For the Panthers, Jake Dianno drilled a two-out, bases-loaded double to make it 7-3 in the fifth; Brooks Carroll hit a three-run homer, singled and hit a sacrifice fly; Strmecki launched a solo shot; and Hayden Smith and Alec Ritch each knocked out three hits. A Graf single in the game was his 100th career hit for Middlebury.
In Sunday’s 8-2 setback Panther starter Alex Price took the loss, allowing three earned runs on four hits in three innings in his first start. In relief Michael Farinelli allowed one run in 3.2 innings with three strikeouts. Graf singled in Smith for one Panther run, and Gray Goolsby doubled and scored on a passed ball. Graf and Andrew Hennings each had two hits.      
On Thursday, March 14 the Panthers defeated host RPI, 12-2, in a game shortened to eight innings by darkness. Middlebury scored 10 runs in the final three innings to break the game open.
Middlebury pounded out 12 hits, stole eight bases, and took advantage of five Engineer miscues. Han, Strmecki, Smith, Andrew Gough and Graf each had two hits; Strmecki drove in two runs and scored twice. 
Middlebury’s Alex Rosario allowed one run in three hitless innings in his first start. George Goldstein earned the win, yielding one run on two hits over three innings.

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