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Chesapeake opens Florida trip with sweep
’Jacks erase 5-0 deficit in opener; Wix gets 1-0 win in nightcap

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Chesapeake College started its Florida baseball trip by sweeping Kishwaukee Community College, 8-6 and 1-0, erasing a 5-0 deficit in Friday’s opener and riding Jimmy Wix’s four-hit shutout to victory in the nightcap.

"We got off to a slow start, but we hung in there and we chipped away," Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski said of his team’s performance in the opener. "We started hitting some balls hard and we played some excellent defense."

Kishwaukee scored single runs in the first and second innings, then put together a three-run fourth highlighted by Nate Jones’ two-run double to take a 5-0 lead. Brendon Burch (2-for-4, three RBI) answered with a two-run double in the home fourth and an RBI single as part of a two-run fifth as the Skipjacks pulled within 6-4.

Chesapeake (6-2) completed its comeback with a four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth.

Kam Stewart (2-for-4, two runs) had a two-out, RBI single off reliever Ben Allison with the bases loaded to cut Kishwaukee’s lead to 6-5. Joel Rowe (2-for-3, three RBI) then singled in the tying and go-ahead runs, with the final run scoring on an outfield error on Rowe’s hit.

After Friday’s Game 1, Rowe was 9-for-12 with 10 RBI over a torrid three-game stretch.

"He’s a tireless worker in the cage and on the tee," Szymanski said of Rowe. "His commitment to hitting and improving is just outstanding. It’s paid off for him and the team."

Reliever Coty Mulder worked the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing just one base runner, to earn the Game 1 victory.

In the nightcap, the teams were locked in a scoreless tie through five innings, but Chesapeake scored the game’s only run in the top of the sixth.

Matt Schotanus and Stewart had consecutive singles to open the sixth, and Schotanus moved to third on a Rowe flyout as Stewart was gunned down at second. J.D. Donalds (2-for-3) followed with a two-out hit to score Schotanus for a 1-0 lead.

That’s all the run support Wix required. He struck out four and walked two in his complete-game victory.

"Jimmy Wix just came out and took command of the game," said Szymanski. "He challenged their hitters and our defense played excellent behind him."

"We played great defensively," said Chesapeake assistant coach Tony Riggi. "I think we made one error all day."

Tough-luck loser Cody Varga also pitched a complete game with one strikeout, one walk and five hits allowed. Kishwaukee, which fell to 0-4, has already lost two 1-0 games this season.

Szymanski said the warm weather was welcomed by his players, who battled the elements to get six games under their belts up north before starting the Florida trip.

"It was 80 degrees at 10 o’clock in the morning when we started playing," noted Szymanski. "We’re happy to be here and having a lot of fun."

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