VERO BEACH, Fla. -- The Bridgewater State University opened the 2017 campaign with a pair of setbacks against The Apprentice School on Saturday afternoon at Holman Stadium in Vero Beach.
The Bears (0-1) lost by a final of 8-4 in the opening game of the twinbill and dropped a 9-7 decision in the night cap. The Builders, who had already played 16 games entering the doubleheader, improve to 12-6 on the season with the two wins.
In the opener, Apprentice pushed across two runs in the bottom of the first without a hit as the Builders were issued three walks and were hit by a pitch twice.
Apprentice extended its lead to 3-0 in the second on an RBI single off the bat of senior pitcher Steve Hux.
A home run by senior second baseman Jake Countiss was countered by a Kelleher sacrifice fly as the Bears kept it a one-run game heading into the bottom of the fifth.
A three-run fifth inning highlighted by an RBI double from sophomore centerfielder Dalton Dye and a Countiss sacrifice fly gave the Builders a four-run cushion at 7-3.
The teams exchanged runs in the sixth to account for the final score of 8-4. Junior first baseman Reed Pike (Bellingham, Mass.) walked and scored on junior third baseman Randy Frazier's (Wareham, Mass.) RBI triple for the Bears, while sophomore catcher Cody Hendrickson answered for Apprentice with a run-scoring base hit.
Hux (1-0) went the distance for the Builders to record his first win of the season. Hux allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
Junior pitcher Connor Birch (Bellingham, Mass.) suffered the loss on the mound for the Bears. Birch (0-1) gave up seven runs on eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
Kelleher went 1-for-2 with a walk, two RBI and a run scored to highlight the BSU offense.
In game two, the two teams combined for 16 runs and 29 hits.
Trailing 7-3, Bridgewater rallied for four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game up at 7-all.
The Bears loaded the bases with nobody out on consecutive singles by junior left fielder Alex Carey (East Bridgewater, Mass.), Kelleher and Levasseur. Following an out, Pike delivered a two-run single to cut the deficit to 7-5. Two batters later, junior designated hitter Davide Tamarez (Roxbury, Mass.) laced a two-run double to knot the score.
The Builders, however, answered with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh on a two-run single off the bat of senior shortstop Thomas Richardson.
Senior pitcher JP Anthony picked up the win in relief for Apprentice. Anthony (1-1) allowed a run on three hits in two innings of work.
Junior pitcher Mike Nader (Hollywood, Fla.) was tagged with loss for the Bears despite pitching effectively in three innings of relief. Nader (0-1) allowed two runs on two hits and fanned two.
Kelleher and Tamarez finished with three hits apiece to lead BSU's 17-hit attack. Kelleher went 3-for-5 with a run, while Tamarez was 3-for-4 with a double, triple, a run and two RBI as he was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
The Florida trip continues for Bridgewater State on Sunday as the Bears take on Hilbert College in a doubleheader starting at 11:00 AM.