Bongiovanni throws six strong in first career start
AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Nationally ranked Rhodes College broke open a 1-1 tie with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to claim an eventual 4-1 victory over Wheaton College in non-conference action on Wednesday afternoon at the Lake Myrtle Sports Park.
Rhodes junior starter Adam Putnam (St. Louis, Mo./MICDS) improved to 6-0 on the season as the left-hander scattered five hits over seven innings of working alongside one run (unearned), three walks and a game-high six strikeouts. Senior Josh Olejnik (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette) completed the final two innings allowing just two hits over that span for his second save of the season.
Wheaton first-year left-handed starter Joe Bongiovanni (Johnston, R.I./Johnston) tossed six solid innings in his first career start but was dealt the no-decision yielding two hits, one run (unearned) and four walks. Jack Fant (McLean, Va./McLean) received the loss as the sophomore right-hander recorded one out, gave up one hit, two runs (one earned) and a walk. First-year reliever Jimmy Gowen (Brielle, N.J./St. Rose) pitched a clean eighth inning (two fly outs, one strikeout) to highlight the backend of the pen.
Defense was on display in the first inning as both teams prevented a run from scoring to keep the game tied at 0-0.
In the top half of the first with one out and runners on second and third, Rhodes first baseman Nathan Foshee (Bartlett, Tenn./Arlington) threw out a runner at home after gathering a slow roller down the first base line to keep Wheaton off the scoreboard. Putnam then walked senior Tyler Contillo (Uncasville, Conn./Montville) to load the bases but escaped the jam with a line out to center.
In the bottom of the first with no outs and runners at first and third, Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) recorded the first out in the frame as the senior first baseman backpedalled deep down the right field line past his own dugout and near the Lyons bullpen to snag a high pop up.
The Lynx tried a double steal attempt during the next at-bat but Wheaton sniffed out the play and caught the lead runner in between third and home for an eventual 2-6-5-2 put out. Sophomore catcher Joseph Santigate (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Joseph by the Sea) made a strong throw down to second base after receiving Bongiovanni's pitch, but shortstop Joshua LaJoie (Somers, Conn./Avon Old Farms) elected to make a quick play at home rather than apply a tag at second that led to the out at home along with the help of junior third baseman Justin Silvestro (Waltham, Mass./BC High).
Rhodes took a 1-0 lead on a similar play in the third as sophomore Ryan Olive (Houston, Texas/St. Thomas) stole second base before classmate Bill Munson (Houston, Texas/Strake Jesuit) scored through the backdoor after a throwing error allowed him to scamper home despite the fact that the Lyons recognized the play was on once again.
Wheaton evened the score in the top of the seventh as sophomore pinch runner Zachary Goodwin-Boyd (Florence, Mass./Northampton) scored on an RBI single through the right side of the infield by junior center fielder Jimmy Smith (Worcester, Mass./Saint John's).
Sophomore Thomas Landry (Hingham, Mass./BC High) got the offense going in the frame with a single to left field on the first pitch he saw to lead off the seventh. Goodwin-Boyd was then inserted as a pinch runner and promptly stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball to set up the scoring play.
Rhodes countered with three runs in the next half inning using a squeeze play to score its first and a throwing error to score the last two runs of the frame.
The Lyons threatened in the eighth with back-to-back singles from LaJoie and Silvestro, but Olejnik rolled over a 6-4-3 double play to squander the rally. Olejnik completed the last 1 1/3 innings inducing a pop out to short to end the eighth and a fly out and two ground outs in the ninth to wrap up his third save of the season.
Wheaton (3-3) takes on Husson University tomorrow in Leesburg, Florida at Pat Thomas Stadium at 10 a.m. Rhodes (15-3) plays the University of Southern Maine on Friday in Winter Haven, Florida at 10 a.m.