FORT MYERS, FLA. -- The Defiance College baseball team dropped a pair of tough affairs to St. John's (Minn.) University at the Gene Cusic Classic in Fort Myers, Fla. on Thursday morning, 12-4 and 4-0.
The Yellow Jackets (4-3) started off the opener on the wrong foot, as the Johnnies (7-1) brought 11 guys to the plate in the second inning. Sophomore hurler Will Bohlman (Centerville) looked to get out of a bases-loaded jam with a ground ball, however an error scored two runs on the play to give St. John's the early lead. They went on to score six runs in the inning to take a 6-0 advantage and knocked Bohlman out after just two frames.
Defiance got a run back in the third inning as Daniel Tomalak (Tecumseh, Mich./Clinton) hit a first-pitch ground-rule double and Nate Kaffenbarger (DeGraff/Indian Lake) scored him on a double down the left field line to make it a 6-1 deficit.
St. John's extended the lead to 8-1 in the top of the fourth, but Defiance responded in the bottom half of the inning. Junior Troy Konwinski (Allen Park, Mich.) knocked in Ben Bucklew (Archbold) and Tomalak to make it an 8-3 game. With the bases still loaded, Jude Neary (Toledo/Cardinal Stritch Catholic) singled home Kaffenbarger and Defiance cut the lead to 8-4. The Johnnies were able to get out of the jam with a fly ball to center field to keep the deficit at four runs.
The Johnnies added four runs over the final three innings to finish off a 12-4 game one victory.
Bohlman took the loss for DC, allowing six hits and six runs, none of them earned, in his two innings of work. Sophomore Zac Brazen (Oxford/Talawanda) allowed three earned runs on six hits with three strikeouts in three innings. Sophomore Kody King (Cecil/Fairview) gave up two runs in the sixth, while senior Parker Houk (Montpelier) gave up one unearned run in the seventh to round out the game.
Offensively, Defiance was led by Konwinski, who finished a perfect 3-for-3 with a a walk and two RBI. Neary also added a pair of hits, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Kaffenbarger and Tomalak each grabbed a double each and were walked once.
Defiance struggled with the sticks in the nightcap, dropping a 4-0 decision to the Johnnies as Defiance finished with just three hits.
Freshman Cohen Nies (Logansport, Ind./Lewis-Cass) had a stellar outing, allowing just four hits and three walks in five innings, with just one unearned run. That run came in the fifth frame, as a one-out throwing error led to a two-out sacrifice fly to give St John's a 1-0 lead.
The Johnnies added three runs in the sixth off of a pair of Yellow Jacket relievers. With no outs and the bases loaded, DC went to their third reliever of the inning in freshman Tyler Hines (Cincinnati/Northwest). Hines got three straight outs without letting another runner score to hold the deficit to 4-0.
Defiance started the seventh frame with a leadoff walk by Jon Brown (Haskins/Otsego). After he advanced on a wild pitch, Bucklew singled up the middle, but Brown was thrown out at the plate for the second out of the inning before a strikeout ended the game for Defiance.
The Yellow Jackets wrap up their trip to the Gene Cusic Classic in Fort Myers, Fla. with a doubleheader against Alvernia University at Terry Park. First pitch for the opener is set to take place at 9 a.m.