Leesburg, Fla. – Clark University got a pair of excellent performances from two freshmen in their first collegiate games, but the Cougars dropped both games of its season-opening doubleheader to Loras (Iowa) College on Saturday afternoon.
After taking a 3-1 lead in the day's first game, Clark surrendered three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings and the Hawks took the game 7-3. Then in the nightcap freshman Luke Crocker (Strafford, Vt.) hurled a one-hitter but suffered a 1-0 defeat.
The Cougars got on the board in game one in the bottom of the first when freshman Daniel Lima (Manchester, Conn.) led off with a single to center and came around to score on a Nicholas Kellogg (Florence, Mass.) single down the left field line. Clark tacked on another run when Jeremy Gerber (Amherst, Mass.) crossed the plate with an unearned run later in the frame.
Loras made the game 2-1 in the second, but the Cougars got that run back in the fourth when Lima drove in Nickolas Winchell (Scituate, R.I.) with a base hit through the left side.
The flood gates opened for the Hawks in the fifth when they scored three runs, chasing Clark starter Michael Lamothe (Bellingham, Mass.). The inning was highlighted by an Eric DeSouza two-run single and an RBI double by Jordan Ries.
Loras wasn't done, recording three runs off of reliever David Balme (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in the sixth with two coming on a two-run double by Travis Olson.
Lamothe went the first four innings, giving up four hits and four earned runs while walking six. Balme, who tossed three innings of relief, yielded four hits and three earned runs of his own.
Lima led the Cougar offense with a 2-for-4 day with an RBI and a stolen base.
In the nightcap, Crocker and Hawks freshman hurler Adam Schwoebel locked in a pitching duel, allowing a combined four hits.
The game's lone run came in the bottom of the second when Billy Kass led off the inning with a single, then stole both second and third. He came around to score on a groundout to second by Alex Rodriguez.
Crocker was excellent the rest of the way, retiring the final 15 batters he faced, while striking out nine and walking none.
Schwoebel, however, was just a hair better despite allowing three hits. He struck out 12, including the final three batters of the contest.
Clark will play a single game on Sunday against Saint Vincent College of Pennsylvania at 10:00 a.m.