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Couch Brilliant In First Collegiate Start, Spartans Down Etown 6-1
ELIZABETHTOWN, PA – York College freshman right-hander Joey Couch (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial) made his first career start a memorable one, tossing seven strong innings as the Spartans notched a 6-1 non-conference win on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Elizabethtown, PA.
The Spartans have now won three straight as they improve to 5-6 while the Blue Jays fall to 4-4 with the setback.
York jumped out to the early lead as Kyle Cook (Pylesville, Md./North Harford) doubled, moved to third on a Rick Shumway (Shippensburg, Pa./Shippensburg Area) single and then scored on a Mike Connolly (Selden, N.Y./Newfield) ground out to short.
York added to the lead in the third as Shumway launched a no-doubt-about-it bomb deep over the left field wall with two outs, giving the Spartans the 2-0 lead.
The Spartans supplied Couch with some key insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Joe Doyle (Stewartstown, Pa./Red Lion) opened the frame with a sharp single through the right side. Rob Klinck (Stanhope, N.J./Lenape Valley Regional) singled to put Spartans at first and second. Matt Monti (Easton, Pa./Easton) then fouled off a bunt attempt followed by a pair of balls, running the count to 2-1. The Spartans took the bunt play off but the Blue Jays kept their bunt defense intact as Monti hit the ball to a vacated shortshop. Doyle scored and Klinck advanced to third. Senior catcher Jim Meehan (Mastic, N.Y./Eastport-South Manor Central) greeted reliever Matt Ruth with a line drive off the right field wall, scoring Klinck for the 4-0 Spartan lead. Dustin Worthman (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) scored Monti with a sacrifice fly to left, pushing the Spartan lead to 5-0.
The Blue Jays finally got to Couch for a single run in the bottom of the seventh on an Anthony Heaps RBI ground out to short.
York closed out the scoring in the eighth as Meehan drew a bases loaded walk to score C.T. Stanley (Timonium, Md./Calvert Hall College) with York’s sixth and final run.
Couch earned his first collegiate win as he allowed a run on five hits with four strikeouts and no walks. He is now 1-0 for the campaign. Chris Frankenfield (Blue Bell, Pa./Wissahickon) allowed one hit in the eighth but got a double play for a clean inning. Sophomore Brandon Ullom (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield) closed out the game with a perfect ninth, preserving the win.
Rob Cressman took the loss as he falls to 1-1. He allowed five runs on 10 hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Ruth allowed a run on two hits in his inning and a third of work. Ryan Barrett and Greg Katz tossed the final 1.2 innings, keeping the Spartans off the board.
Shumway and Monti led the Spartans with three hits each. They both added an RBI and a run scored in the win. Meehan finished the game 1-for-3 with two RBI while Worthman and Connolly each had a run batted in.
Rodney Francis and Steve Motika each had two hits while Heaps had the Blue Jays’ lone RBI.
The Spartans continue their seven-games in five-days stretch on Thursday with a trip to Kirchhoff Field is set for 3:30 pm.
PHOTO: Freshman Joey Couch hurled seven strong innings in his first collegiate start.