OCALA--The College of Central Florida baseball team blanked Pasco-Hernando State College on Wednesday afternoon in the final home game of 2017.
A quartet of Patriot pitchers—Jake Grenus, Ryan Aspinwall, Trent Massaro and Richie Cruz—combined to throw a one-hit shutout as they led CF past the Conquistadors 8-0 and send its sophomores off in winning fashion.
CF got on the board in the bottom of the third when sophomore left fielder Will Reddick singled in Steven Lugo. An inning later, the Patriots capitalized on a trio of walks and wild pitches to plate four more runs.
CF would go on to add three more insurance runs in the sixth off a hit by pitch, wild pitch and sacrifice fly from Christian Smallwood.
Grenus started on the mound for the Patriots, throwing three scoreless innings, not allowing a hit and striking out three in the win. Aspinwall (0 H, 0 R, 1 K, 1 IP) and Massaro (0 H, 0 R, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 IP) each followed with a scoreless inning of relief before giving way for Cruz to close out the game. Cruz threw four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out one.
Prior to the start of the final home game, CF honored its seven sophomores for their contributions to the program over the past two years: Vinny Addona, Richie Cruz, Ryan Aspinwall, Will Reddick, Jake Grenus, Jackson Stoeckinger, and Nate Pearson.
CF closes out the season on Friday when they travel to Lake-Sumter State College. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.
Nate Pearson: Nate joined the Patriots this season after transferring in from Florida International University. The Tampa native was named the top JUCO pitcher at the start of the season and has been just that all season long. He currently leads the state and nation in total strike outs with 118 in 81 innings of work, and has held opponents to a dismal .194 average at the plate this year. Nate boasts a 1.56 overall ERA, with a staggering 0.85 ERA in conference, good for Top 5 in the state. It is also the 2nd best ERA in CF program history, a record that hasn't been touched since the 1970s. Nate earned state and national player of the week honors earlier this year for his career-best outing vs Seminole State, throwing a complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits and striking out 10 in the win. The business major will graduate from CF in May and has committed to continue his baseball career with the LSU Tigers, but is projected to be drafted in the first or second round of the upcoming Major League Baseball draft in June.
Vinny Addona: Vinny, a public relations major from Cary, North Carolina, has appeared in 96 games as a Patriot and recorded 55 RBI, 60 RS and 9 HR throughout his two-year career. As a freshman, Addona went 2-for-3 with 5 RBI and hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th to lead CF past conference opponent Seminole State. The MFC & FCSAA All-Academic Team member will graduate this spring from CF and will be continuing his baseball career at Lander University.
Richie Cruz: Richie joined CF this season after transferring in from Florida International University. The Miami native has appeared in 14 games this season for the Patriots, striking out 29 in 26 innings of work and notching 4 saves. Richie recorded a season-high six strikeouts on two occasions this year. The business major will graduate from CF this spring and is currently deciding where he wants to play
Ryan Aspinwall: Ryan is a two-year starting pitcher for the College of Central Florida. The Jacksonville native has appeared in 24 games, starting 18, and has struck out 76 in 115 1/3 innings of work. Ryan had a career game vs conference rival Seminole this season, throwing a complete-game, 7-inning shutout and struck out 8 in the win. The computer science major will graduate from CF in May and is currently entertaining several offers to continue his baseball career.
Will Reddick: Will is a two-year starter for CF, appearing in 72 games as a Patriot, scoring 48 runs while driving in 37. The Tennessee native is batting a team-high .377 and has hit safely in 59 games over his two-year career. One of Will's most memorable moments as a Patriot was when he hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th to defeat South Georgia as a freshman. The MFC All-Academic Team member is currently studying agribusiness and will be graduating from CF in May where he will then transfer to Lincoln Memorial University to continue his baseball career.
Jake Grenus: Jake is a two-year pitcher for CF. The Kissimmee native has appeared in 32 games as a Patriot, starting 12, and has struck out 73 in 95 innings of work over his two-year career. Jake had a career game vs Florida Southwestern earlier this season, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits in 7 innings of work in the win. The business administration major will graduate from CF in May and is currently entertaining several offers to continue his baseball career.
Jackson Stoeckinger: Jackson is a criminal justice major from Harrodsburg, Kentucky. He returned to the Patriot pitching rotation this season after season-ending Tommy John surgery a year ago. The left-hander has appeared in 11 games, starting 10, and has struck out 42 in 38 2/3 innings of work. Jackson had a career best outing vs Pasco-Hernando last month, throwing 6 shutout innings and striking out 5 in the win. Jackson will be graduating from CF in May and will be transferring to University of Kentucky to continue his baseball career.