Colonels nearly undefeated on spring training trip – The Beacon

The baseball team came close to a nine-game sweep during its spring training trip to Fort Pierce, Florida. In nine games against six different opponents, the Colonels went 8-1 to improve their season record to 10-1.

The Colonels began their journey on March 5 against Maritime College. This game started a recurring theme of lopsided wins for Wilkes as they beat the Privateers 14-3.

“I thought our pitchers were working ahead in the count for the most part and pitching on contact.” said head coach Kevin Gryboski. “Our hitters were aggressive early in the count and chased the fastball.”

Freshman Chase Vrabel contributed to the offensive onslaught by going 4-on-5 with two doubles, one RBI and three runs scored. Senior JT Hibschman picked up the win, pitching six shutout innings with six strikeouts while allowing just two hits.

“Our game plan was and is to throw in strikes and let the defense out,” Hibschman said. “If we limit walks and free bases, good things happen.”

On the second day of the trip, the Colonels swept Norwich University in a double game winner by scores of 7-4 and 13-0.

Elder Tony Molitoris won the win in Game 1 with five and two-thirds innings allowing a single run and striking out three. Freshman Aiden Murphy shone brightly in Game 2, throwing a complete shutout with 15 strikeouts to earn his first collegiate victory. Graduate student Nick Pronti stood out offensively in the doubleheader, going 4-for-5 with three doubles, five RBIs and two runs scored.

“I see a huge difference in this team compared to any other team I’ve been on here at Wilkes,” said senior Mike Patrizio. “The good group of guys came back and the new the guys the coach brought in all come together and love playing and being with each other.

Game 4 of the trip ended in a dramatic 11-5 victory over Drew University, with the Colonels scoring all 11 points at the start of the ninth inning. Freshman Mike Show hit the game-winning hit with a two-run single, putting the Colonels on top 6-5, giving them the lead for good. Patrizio went 3 for 5 with two runs scored, one RBI and one stolen basis in the contest.

The Colonels faced Gettysburg College in Game 5 of the trip, beating the Chips 13-2. Graduate student Brandon Reno went two-for-four with three RBIs, a walk and a home run, scoring the Colonels’ first long ball of the year.

On day five of the trip, Wilkes faced the Marywood Pacers in their second and final doubleheader of the week.

In Game 1, the Colonels won 4-3 on another solid outing from Hibschman as he allowed just one run through five innings to claim the victory. In Game 2, the Colonels’ eight-game winning streak was snapped as the Pacers won 11-5.

In their eighth game of the trip and their second against Drew, the Colonels won again with a score of 5-1.

Murphy picked up his second win of the trip with another stellar outing, pitching six innings while allowing just one run and striking out 10 batters. As the designated hitter, freshman Zack Luksic went 1 for 4 with his first college home run.

In the final match of the trip, Wilkes defeated Messiah College 14-4. Junior Darren Kerdesky was a big contributor to the offensive explosion, going 2 for 4 with 3 runs scored, four RBIs and his first homer of the season.

“Players have to come to practice every day and be ready to work,” Gryboski said. “The season is tough and we have a tough schedule ahead of us.”

Beacon/Ariel Reed Senior Darren Kerdesky is mobbed by teammates at home plate after an tying home run against Misericordia on March 18.

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