Offense Rolls As Express Defeat John Wood and Florence Darlington

By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information

Myrtle Beach, SC---Another day, another two wins for the Express baseball program.

The Express moved to 7-0 on their South Carolina trip Thursday by defeating John Wood Community College 9-1 and Florence Darlington Technical College 12-1.

Game 1: Owens 9 John Wood 1

In the first game, the Express chased John Wood's starter Curtis Washburn in the second inning and cruised.

Washburn walked the first three Express batters to begin the second inning before Tyler Brown-Lewis (Shaker Heights/Shaker Heights, Ohio) laced a two-run single to put Owens up 2-0. Shane Powell (Gibralter Carlson/Brownstown, Mich.) then knocked two more in with a double before Nate Miceli (Berea/Berea, Ohio) was hit by a pitch.

That's when Washburn got the hook, but the inning didn't end before Jesse Solomon (Wayne/Huber Heights, Ohio) singled home Powell to cap the inning's scoring.

Meanwhile, Express starter Shawn Downey (Martinsville/Martinsville, Ind.) settled in en route to a complete game, three-hitter. The 6-foot-6 freshman (1-0) struck out three and walked one in his first collegiate start.

Owens added one in the fourth on an RBI ground out by Solomon, and three more in the fifth on an RBI double by Powell, a fielder's choice ground out by Blake Schmenk (Perrysburg/Perrysburg, Ohio), and a passed ball.

John Wood's Luke Burling led off the fifth with a solo home run against Downey for its only run.

Brown-Lewis finished 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI, Powell was 2-for-3 with three RBI, and Solomon was 2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base.

Game 2: Owens 12 Florence Darlington 1

In game two, the Express run-ruled NJCAA Division I Florence Darlington Technical College behind the pitching of Zak Esposito (Sandusky/Sandusky, Ohio) and the hitting of Joe Sickler (Bowling Green/Bowling Green, Ohio) and Brown-Lewis.

Esposito (1-0) went the first five innings and allowed only one hit, one run, and three walks while striking out six. He became the seventh different Express pitcher to pick up a win.

Owens once again chased the opposition's starter, this time it was Tracy Bishop, in the second inning.

After taking a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Garrett Busch (Start/Toledo, Ohio), the Express scored four in the second on a two-run triple by Sickler, a passed ball, and an RBI groundout by Busch.

Florence Darlington answered back with one in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly, cutting the Express lead to 5-1.

However, a sacrifice fly by Michael Louis (Normandy/Parma, Ohio) and an RBI single by Danny Schira (Switzerland County/Vevay, Ind.) in the fifth put the Express up 7-1.

The Express ended the game in the sixth on a bases loaded balk, an RBI single by Busch, a wild pitch, and a two-run single by Brown-Lewis. The game was called with one out and one runner on for the Express.

Brown-Lewis finished the day 5-for-5 with four RBI, four runs and a stolen base. Daniel Heatherly (Trenton, Trenton, Mich.) pitched a scoreless sixth in relief of Esposito. Sickler is now 10-for-21 with 10 runs and six RBI to begin the season. He also has a .560 on-base percentage.

Owens (7-0) is scheduled to play Pennsylvania College of Technology and Olney Central in doubleheader action today. The Express will close their spring trip with a single game against Delaware Technical and Community College on Saturday at 12 p.m.