FORT MEYERS, Fla.- Senior infielder Joe Petry was one of four Coast Guard players who had multiple hits on the day, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in as Coast Guard defeated regional foe Salem State 8-2 in their final game at the 2013 Gene Cusic Classic. With the victory over Salem State (3-4), Coast Guard (5-2) wrapped up their best Florida trip since Coach Grant took over the program in 2007.
After falling behind 1-0 after two and a half, Coast Guard broke through in the bottom of the 3rd with three runs of their own. Despite Salem State getting one of those runs back in the 4th, the Bears showed their resiliency by putting another three runs on the scoreboard in the bottom half before scoring another in the 5th, extending their lead to a very comfortable 7-2 margin.
Senior Nate Toll (1-0) got his second start of the season for the Bears, tossing four strong innings as he surrendered just two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out four to record the win. The win was the result of a hidden NCAA rule which factors in preset pitch counts to allow a starter who doesn't go five innings to record a victory. Toll departed with a 6-2 lead as the game moved to the top of the 5th. He made way for sophomore Anthony Martin to come on in relief.
Martin worked a pair of scoreless innings, allowing two hits and recording a strikeout. Senior Curt Barrett came on in the top of the 7th, throwing two shutout innings, yielding a single hit and a strikeout. Senior Tyler Vieira put the finishing touches on the victory by working a scoreless 9th, allowing just one hit.
Leading by five in the bottom of the 7th, Coast Guard padded their lead with an insurance run, accounting for the final margin in the game.
Joining Petry with multiple hits for the Bears were senior Mike Massaro (2-for-4), sophomore Matt Hanks (2-for-5), and freshman Kyle Wood (2-for-4). In addition to his two hits, Massaro also had a pair of RBI's, while Wood and senior Nolan Gallagher each had doubles for the Bears.
"I thought we pitched and played very well," started Coach Grant, before continuing "we're pleased to be coming home with a 5-2 record. That's very good."
For the game, Coast Guard outhit Salem State by a 14-9 margin, and each team committed one error.
Freshman Sean O'Brien suffered his first collegiate loss for the Vikings after struggling through 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs (all earned) on seven hits and two walks. He did manage to record a pair of strikeouts in the effort though.
Next up for Coast Guard will be a trip to Springfield on Friday, March 15th, as they look to get the NEWMAC portion of their schedule underway with first pitch scheduled for 3:00 pm. The home opener is scheduled for Saturday, March 16th, with a double-header also against Springfield. That is set to get underway at 12:00 pm.