Tusculum drops baseball opener to defending national champs

Tusculum drops baseball opener to defending national champs

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. --- Defending national champion Nova Southeastern pounded out 13 hits, including four home runs as the top-ranked Sharks defeated visiting Tusculum 11-2 Friday night in the season opener for both teams.

Nova (1-0) avenges last year's 13-2 season-opening loss to the Pioneers (0-1), which the Sharks bounced back from to capture the program's first NCAA Division II title.

NSU's Brandon Gomez led the offensive charge as he went 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs and three RBI.  Teammate Kevin Suarez tallied two hits, including his bases-loaded double to spark a four-run first inning for the home team.

Nova starter Devin Meyer (1-0) pitched 6.1 innings where he scattered six hits, allowed two runs, walked five and struck out four.  The relief duo of Kyle Kilbourne and Anthony DiFede blanked the Pioneers for the final 2.2 innings and secure the victory.

In the four-run first inning, all the scoring was unearned as the Sharks took advantage of two hits, two hit batters and one Tusculum error.

Down 4-0 the Pioneers plated a run in the second inning when Edison Cabrera reached on a double and later came into score on Jeremy Glore's RBI single up the middle.

The Sharks answered with three runs in the bottom of the second and tacked on two in the fourth and one each in the sixth and seventh innings.

Tusculum scratched its second run of the game in the top of the seventh thanks to a RBI single from John Topoleski.

TC starter Christian Raasch (0-1) suffered the loss as he went 3.1 innings, allowed 10 hits, nine runs, five earned, three walks and two strikeouts.  TC relievers Tyler Hall, Andrew Willis and Eamonn Collins held the Sharks to a pair of runs over the final 4.2 innings, including Collins who retired all four batters he would face, including three strikeouts.

The Pioneers would tally six hits on the night, including two each from Cabrera and Glore and singles from Nick Lacina and Topoleski.

Tusculum continues its three-game Florida road swing on Saturday as the Pioneers travel to Palm Beach Atlantic for a 1 p.m. first pitch against the Sailfish.