Auburndale, Fla. – The Alma College baseball team won its first game of the season against Capital University (OH), 2-1, at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational Sunday (Feb. 24). Junior Dylan Dzendzel (Royal Oak, Mich. / Royal Oak) pitched six shutout innings to earn the win. Making his collegitate debut, junior Aaron Saenz (Sebewaing, Mich. / Unionville-Sebewaing Area) picked up the save for the Scots as he came in at the top of the ninth with bases loaded and one out and was able to retire the final two batters.
How It Happened
- The game was a pitcher's duel between Dzendzel and Capital's Scott Gutstein for much of the contest. The Scots were able to get a run off Gutstein in the third when junior Logan Huff (Johannesburg, Mich. / Johannesburg-Lewiston) drove one to the short stop with a man on second and third. Junior Pete Carravallah (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth) scored easily while the Crusaders (0-3) shortstop bobbled the ground ball, allowing Carravallah to reach safely.
- In the next inning, Capital had its first man in scoring position at second base with one out. The ball was put in play to junior shortstop Zach Schirmer (Bay City, Mich. / Bay City Western) who made the heads up play to fire it to third basemen Huff who made the tag on Crusader trying to advance.
- Dzendzel faced a tough task in the fifth with a man on third with nobody out. The junior then stuck out the next batter looking and forced back-to-back groundouts to escape the inning. The southpaw finished off his outing in the sixth with his third strikeout to retire the side.
- The home half of the sixth saw Alma put another run on the board with senior Jordan Anstandig (West Bloomfield, Mich. / Walled Lake Northern) sending a double in to the left-center gap to plate Huff.
- The Crusaders cut the lead in half with a run in the eighth and looked prime to tie the game in ninth with a man on each base and only one out. Head Coach Jason Crain went to his fourth reliever of the day in Saenz to shut the door and the lefty delivered striking out the first batter. In the final at-bat, Capital's Nick Beck drove one to center where Carravallah made the diving catch to seal the victory.
- Dzendzel scattered only four hits and one walk over his six innings of work.
- Senior Alex Archambeault (Lansing, Mich. / Waverly) pitched one inning in relief, striking out two batters.
- This final score was the exact same as last year's matchup between the Scots and Crusaders.
- This was Coach Crain's first win of his collegiate head coaching career.
What He Said
"I am very excited for this team. It is outstanding to get off on the right foot with a win, but to come out and have so many clutch performances in a tight, well played game is even more special. This was the consummate team with the outstanding start by Dzendzel to Saenz coming in with the bases loaded and out to close it out. There were many other plays throughout the game that proved crucial. I can't wait to see this team grow and continue to compete like they did today."
-Head Coach Jason Crain
The Scots continue play down in Florida on Monday (Feb. 25) against the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. First pitch scheduled for 10:30 a.m.