The College of Southern Maryland Hawks baseball team split their 2020 season home opener doubleheader against the Finger Lakes Community College Lakers on February 22, dropping Game 1 17-10 but taking Game 2 11-1.
After Finger Lakes put up two runs in the top of the second inning, CSM answered with four runs in their half. Freshman Eli Wilhelm led off the inning with a towering solo home run that barely stayed inside the left field foul pole. Freshman Luis Calvo later scored on a bunt from sophomore Sean Mason after doubling to left-center field and stealing third base. Freshman Austin Simms pushed two more runs across with a double to left-center field, bringing home Mason and sophomore Zach Roll.
Finger Lakes responded right back with three runs in the top of the third inning, then piled on six more runs in the top of the fourth to take an 11-4 lead. Wilhelm drove in two more runs for the Hawks with a single in the bottom of the fourth.
Finger Lakes kept their bats going with a four-run fifth inning and a two-run sixth inning. Calvo smacked an opposite field three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to provide CSM's final runs.
CSM head coach Aaron Michael said his team "definitely kept battling. We did not play extremely well defensively. Pitchers, they did ok. They allowed the ball to get hit. We didn't walk a ton of guys, it wasn't just a straight walkfest. We just didn't make plays in the field and that cost us. Sometimes you get in a situation like that and it can go south quick, but our guys kept hitting, they kept battling, and stuck it out all the way through, all the way to Game 2. The hitting was tremendous today, we really hit the ball well."
The Hawks remained aggressive in Game 2. After freshman Ethan Zorbaugh gave up one run in the top of the first inning, CSM would score the only runs needed to win with a four-run bottom of the first. Wilhelm got the Hawks on the board with a double that brought home Simms. Sophomore Peyton Myers scored on a wild pitch to put CSM up 2-1. Wilhelm then came around on a single from Calvo. Calvo would score on an errant throw into center field when the Finger Lakes catcher tried to pick him off second base.
Zorbaugh settled down after the first, retiring nine consecutive Finger Lakes batters.
"He was struggling the first inning with his offspeed locating, but from the second inning on he had it," Michael said. "He even had a couple guys where he did nothing but throw offspeed at them and just kept them screwed in the ground. He was very effective today, he was mixing his pitches up really well, and once he got past that shaky first inning he was locked in."
Zorbaugh got into some trouble in the sixth inning, giving up a leadoff single and walking the next batter. After a ground out put runners at second and third, Michael brought in Simms to get out of the inning. He walked the first batter he saw, but CSM's defense came up big when it needed to the most. A Finger Lakes batter squared up a ball that was headed to shallow left-center field, but sophomore Trevor Drummond made a leaping grab and doubled up the runner from second to get out of the jam.
"Ethan was fantastic in Game 2," Michael said. "He got a little tired toward the end and he didn't want to come out but he was getting up there in pitches and his effectiveness was going down and they were in the heart of the order. [We] felt like if we went to Simms there then we would be able to get out of that. Simms made a decent pitch but Trevor made a great play at shortstop and that turned the game - if that ball goes through you're talking about a tight ballgame and it's a lot different outcome."
CSM capitalized on keeping the momentum, ending the game with a seven-run sixth inning. Two runners scored on a wild throw into center field when Finger Lakes' catcher tried to throw Calvo out stealing second. Two bases loaded walks made it 8-1. A balk brought another run home before Myers crushed a double to the left field fence to bring the final two runs home.
Zorbaugh ended the day with eight strikeouts, one walk, three hits, and one earned run over 5.1 innings pitched. Simms picked up his second save of the young season.
CSM's record now stands at 2-2. They will get their first taste of Maryland JUCO action on March 1 when they travel to Prince George's Community College.