BASE: Colonels play eight games in Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — During spring break, Wilkes Baseball took a trip to Myrtle Beach, playing eight games at the Ripken Experience and finishing with a record of 3-5.

Under the leadership of new head coach Brandon Michael, the Colonels began their season with an 18-5 win over Lehman College. A solid showing from sophomore Matt Amaral with six innings and four strikeouts on the mound gave Wilkes the upper hand.

In the first inning, freshman Vincent Uzzi hit a three-run homer in his first collegiate at-bat, kicking off the week with a bang. Sophomore Matt Reinert went 4-for-4 at the plate with four RBIs and four runs, sophomore Tyler Walther went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs, and junior Nick Capozzi went 3-for-6 with three runs to dominate offensively.

In their second game, the Colonels defeated Mount Aloysius College 11-0 with 16 hits on the day. Junior transfer Jeremy Worlinsky pitched six scoreless innings with two strikeouts and gave up zero walks. Reinert was electric at the plate again, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs. Freshman Bryan Nifenecker went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and one run in his college debut. Junior Brady Wing and senior Jarret Clymer each added two hits to contribute to the Colonels win.

With two wins under their belt, Wilkes faced off against Eastern Mennonite University, continuing to trump their competition by winning 10-6.

Freshman Matt Konikow pitched five innings, allowing two runs to score on four hits. Outings on the mound by freshmen Colin Smith and Nolan Ott and sophomore Jeremy Yzeik allowed Konikow to earn his first collegiate victory.

Offensively, senior Joe Champi and freshman Michael Patrizio steered the Colonels offense. Both batted 3-for-4 with Champi scoring two runs and Patrizio having two RBIs and one run. Reinert continued his command at the plate, batting 2-for-3 with three RBIs, two runs and one walk. Hits by Wing, Capozzi and seniors Jack Fischer and Dan Eicher added to the Colonels dictating offense.

“Reinert was the guy all week for us, stringing hits together like it was nothing,” Patrizio said. “Our whole pitching staff collectively did really well, considering it was their first time outside since the fall. The defense was outstanding with everybody making enough plays to help out our pitchers and keep us in the game.

“With guidance and support from the upperclassmen, the team really helped out the new guys, like Uzzi who hit two homers and Worlinksy and Konikow who both had a strong week on the bump. I feel like our mix of young guys and older guys is something that is a big factor for us; we all click really well and help each other out.

“No matter who was in the lineup, we all supported each other and had the same goal: to go out and compete and win games.”

Although Wilkes started off their season successful with three wins, they were unable to snatch another victory during the rest of their trip.

Wilkes fell to PSU-Harrisburg 11-1 in their first loss, with Clymer and freshman Nick Pronti being the offensive highlights for the day. Both batted 2-for-4 and Clymer tacked on the only RBI. Freshman Kyle Pokrinchak threw six innings, allowing six runs to score, giving up one walk and having five strikeouts.

In their second loss, Wilkes was defeated 7-4 by Penn College. Junior Noah Durnin pitched 5.1 innings, allowing the Wildcats to score four runs on seven hits and one walk. For the remaining 3 2/3 innings, Smith allowed three runs on nine hits and one walk.

When facing off in a doubleheader against New England College, the Colonels were trampled 5-2 and 9-1, giving up a combined six errors and allowing seven unearned runs to cross the plate. Despite an exemplary showing by Amaral in game one with seven strikeouts, the errors committed were too detrimental for a comeback. In game two, junior Alex Palmer directed the Colonels offense by going 2-for-3. Champi, Walther, and freshman Anthony Favor each tacked on a hit.

In their final game, the Colonels lost 15-5 to undefeated Catholic University. Clymer, Reinert and juniors Keaton Allison and Jay Gonzalez each had one hit. Patrizio helped out the team by walking and having a productive groundout, scoring Reinert both times.

Looking back on the week as a whole, sophomore catcher Eric Beideman said, “We have a new head coach and a very large freshmen class, so we were using our trip as a barometer of sorts. After the competition started to rack up, we found ourselves on the losing end, but along the way we were learning valuable lessons about how to win at the college level. It was a great learning experience for the freshmen and a good week to knock the rust off for the upperclassmen.”