LEICESTER, Mass. – Elms College sophomore first baseman Zach Dreher (Naugatuck, Conn.) was 2 for 4 with a run scored and two RBI and the Blazers survived a late rally to help secure a 9-5 victory over Becker College in Sunday afternoon's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) baseball game at Rochdale Park in Leicester, Mass.
With the win, Elms improves to 5-11 overall, 3-2 in conference action, while Becker moves to 8-6 on the season, 5-1 in NECC play.
With the score set at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning, Elms scored three runs in the top of the fifth when sophomore shortstop Alex King (Lebanon, Conn.) connected for an RBI double to center field, followed by back-to-back RBI singles to the outfield by sophomore second baseman Anthony Pagano (Cranston, R.I.) and senior catcher Rey Rivera (San Juan, Puerto Rico).
The Blazers added to the lead with four in the top of the sixth highlighted by a two-run double from Dreher, an RBI base hit by Pagano and a run-scoring groundout by senior left fielder Donny Morse (Alfred, Maine) to increase Elms' lead to 9-2.
Becker, who had been held scoreless since the second inning thanks to stellar defense and terrific pitching from sophomore starter Derek Leal (Charlton, Mass.), plated three runs in the bottom of the ninth on a bases-loaded single by DJ Reed (Londonderry, N.H.), a sacrifice fly by Mike Smith (Warner, N.H.) and an RBI single by Joseph Corey (Billerica, Mass.) but the rally fell short as Blazers' reliever Geoffrey Frost (Ludlow, Mass.) who entered earlier in the frame forced a groundout to end the game.
Leal tossed 8.1 innings and earned the win (2-1), striking out three in the process, while Becker starter Tony Cantalupo (DePere, Wisc.) suffered the loss and falls to 0-2 on the hill.
Blazers' freshman right fielder Brady Forrest (Hampden, Mass.) was 3 for 4 with an RBI, while King, Pagano, Rivera, Dreher and senior third baseman Nico Iavicoli (Hampden, Mass.) collected a pair of hits each to highlight 16 Elms hits. Dreher and Pagano drove in two runs each, while King and Iavicoli crossed the dish twice.
Corey led the Hawks with a three-hit effort, while Todd Tompkins (West Haven, Conn.) and Austin Phillips (Thomson, Ga.) each drove in a run.
Elms returns to non-conference action on Thursday, March 29 when it hosts Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) at 3:30 p.m. at MacKenzie Stadium in Holyoke, Mass.