Winter Haven, FL – The Pioneers faced the Road Runners of Rowan College on Friday and although played tough, dropped a 6-4 decision to the eighth ranked team from New Jersey. The loss is the third consecutive for Delta as they drop to 4-5 on the season.
"We're playing a tough schedule down here this season so we can't be concerned about the outcomes right now," said seventh year skipper Danny Smith. "Sure, we want to have a great record but right now it's more important to be focused on the things we do within the confines of the game – inning by inning, out by out – and let the outcome speak for itself."
Rowan scored an unearned run in the first inning before taking a 2-0 lead with a single run in the fourth. They increased their margin to 4-0 off starting pitcher Jeff Wright with two more runs in the fifth before Delta could get on the board in the bottom half.
Danny Diaz and Cam Fowler both singled to start the inning and moved up to second and third on a throwing error with no outs. Kane Bourbina laid down a suicide squeeze to score Diaz before Dyland Steinke followed suit to score Fowler and make it a 4-2 ball game.
Rowan greeted DC reliever Jake Wright with two runs over the next three innings to make it a 6-2 game before things got interesting in the bottom of the ninth.
Zach Schirmer led things off with a double before Devin Sempert hit what appeared to be a single as a soft liner floated over the second baseman's head was called a non-catch by the base umpire. After the Rowan coach argued the call, the home plate umpire overruled the call and Sempert was called out.
"It (the call) changed the entire outcome of the game," said Smith. "An umpire that was on top of the play made a call and was overturned by an umpire that was 200 feet away. It made no sense."
With one out, pinch hitter Randy Rangel drove home Schirmer to make it 6-3. Diaz was then plunked by a pitch and Cam Fowler followed with a single to score Rangel and put runners at the corners with one out and the score at 6-4.
Rowan changed pitchers and promptly struck out the remaining two Delta batters to end the threat and the game.
"If Devin's call was called correctly, we have a 6-5 game with one out and a runner at third," said Smith. "No doubt in my mind we tie that game up."
Jeff Wright took the loss for Delta to go 1-1 on the season. He threw six innings giving up three earned runs while striking out four. Cam Fowler led the offense with two hits and an RBI. Offensively, Delta struck out 16 times in the contest.
"Rowan is a tough, tough team," added Smith. "I'm proud of our guys and happy to see they didn't fold up camp because that's one of the best all-around teams I've seen in my seven seasons."
Delta finishes their spring trip with a double-header against Erie Community College tomorrow. Game time is scheduled for 10am.