Daytona Beach, Fla. – A strong start on the mound for freshman Kyle Freel (Dyer, Ind./Lake Central) and a nice day at the plate for junior Austin Kordik (West Chicago, Ill./Community) propelled the Purdue Northwest baseball team to a doubleheader split with Embry Riddle University (Fla.) Tuesday afternoon at Sliwa Stadium in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Pride took the first game with the Eagles by a score of 5-1, but gave up a two-run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning to drop game two, 7-6.
Freel improved his season record to 2-0 with a great start for PNW in Tuesday’s opener. He threw five innings and allowed five hits, one run (earned) and no walks with six strikeouts. Kordik combined to go 3-for-6 with a run scored and three RBI. Freshman Brandon Haczynski (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) earned the save (1) in game one pitching the final two frames and allowing just one hit with a pair of strikeouts. Junior Joe Davi (New Lenox, Ill./Joliet JC/Lincoln-Way Central) suffered the loss (0-2) in relief in the second game giving up two hits, a run (earned) and a walk in the bottom of the seventh.
Senior Jacob Lane (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central) got the scoring started early for PNW in the opener hitting a two-run single down the right field line to give the Pride a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Sophomore Hunter Thorn (Portage, Ind./Portage) smashed a two-run double down the left field line in the top of the third to extend the advantage to 4-0. ERAU got a run back in the bottom of the fifth off a RBI single, but freshman John Cory (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) hit a RBI single through the left side in the seventh inning to complete the game’s scoring.
The Eagles posted a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning of game two and added another run in the fourth on a RBI single to take an early 3-0 lead. Kordik hit a sacrifice fly and junior Larry Crisler (Gary, Ind./Snead State CC/Bishop Noll) added a RBI single in the top of the fifth to draw Purdue Northwest within a run, 3-2. A RBI triple by Embry Riddle in the bottom half of the fifth made the score, 5-2; but senior Mike Mikulich (Hebron, Ind./Hebron) tied the game in the sixth on a two-run single to right centerfield.
Later in the top of the sixth, Kordik gave the Pride the 6-4 lead with a two-run single to right field. PNW took the two-run lead into the seventh inning, but a two-run single up the middle by ERAU tied the game and the Eagles secured the win in the next at-bat with a walk-off RBI single through the left side. Junior Brendan Kelly (Grandville, Mich./Grandville) got the start for the Pride in game two pitching five innings and giving up six hits, four runs (two earned) and a walk with three strikeouts.
Purdue Northwest (6-3 overall) wraps up its Florida trip on Wednesday, March 14, with a road game against Webber International University (Fla.). The nine-inning affair is scheduled for a noon CT start at Heart of Florida Field in Babson Park, Fla.