Towson breaks losing streak
Towson (22-27, 10-12 Colonial Athletic Association) put a quick halt to their two-game skid, routing University of Maryland Eastern Shore (11-35) by a final score of 14-4 in a rain-shortened game Tuesday.
Left fielder Brendan Butler and designated hitter Brandon Gonnella each gained two singles, a double, and two runs batted in to lead the Tigers’ offense.
Shortstop Ryne Willard added two singles and three runs batted to the charge.
The Tigers also capitalized off of five UMES errors, upping the Hawks’ season error total to 116 in 46 games this season.
The game marked Gonnella’s first start in the lineup since straining his ulner collateral ligament on April 20 against Georgia State.
“Gonnella swung the bat well today,” Head Coach Mike Gottlieb said. “He can’t even play outfield and throw [due to injury], so if he’s going to play, he has to D.H. I think he hit the ball hard every time up. He was all over the field from a hitting standpoint, so that was very positive.”
The bats gave freshman pitcher Nick Cioffi more than enough breathing room to earn his second win of the season.
Cioffi threw five innings, allowed four hits, zero earned runs and struck out two batters. Sophomore Chris Acker contributed four innings of relief, allowing one earned run and two hits while striking out five batters.
Towson struck first in the second inning with three runs off of UMES pitcher Alex Welch.
Butler led the inning off with a double, and first baseman Kurtis Voytell reached after being hit by a pitch. Then, on a wild pitch, Butler advanced to third and Voytell drew an errant throw from catcher Dustin Aigner that allowed Butler to score the first run.
Center fielder Richie Blosser knocked a bases loaded single later in the inning to pad the lead to three runs.
The Hawks’ errors cost them again in the third inning after second baseman Pat Fitzgerald and right fielder Dominic Fratantuono reached on walks.
With Willard at the plate, Welch attempted a pickoff throw at first base, but no one was covering the base.
The wild throw allowed Fitzgerald to score from second, but that was the only run they scored in the inning.
Towson saw its four-run cushion shrink to one in the top of the fourth inning, when the Hawks’ designated hitter Malik Wylie doubled down the left-field line to score two runners.
Aigner followed with a double of his own to score Wylie and trim Towson’s lead to 4-3.
The floodgates opened in the bottom of the inning, however, as the Tigers exploded for six runs to take a 10-3 lead.
A two-run double by Gonnella and a two-run single by Butler highlighted Towson’s inning, with two more scoring on an RBI single by Willard and a throwing error by UMES third baseman James Newsome.
Butler started off the sixth with a single, his third hit of the game, and advanced to second on a walk to Voytell.
Catcher Sean Adkins then hit a deep fly ball that Hawks’ center fielder Tre-Von Johnson flagged down, but Butler tagged and scored all the way from second base to increase the lead to eight runs.
This gave Adkins his first-run batted in of the season.
Willard drove-in his second and third runs of the ballgame on a single, during a three-run seventh inning that gave the Tigers their final runs of the ballgame to pad an insurmountable lead.
“Thought a couple of guys swung it real well, which is a good thing,” Gottlieb said. “Butler swung it real good. I thought Acker threw pretty well other than the one pitch. Cioffi did a fairly good job throwing strikes.”
Towson’s game against UMBC was postponed indefinitely Wednesday night due to heavy rain. The Tigers were leading 6-1 in the top of the third at the time of cancellation.