HOLYOKE, Mass. – After trailing 6-0 through five and a half innings, Elms College rallied with six runs in the fifth and plated two more in the bottom of the eighth to secure an 8-6 come-from-behind victory over Southern Vermont College in Friday evening's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) baseball game at MacKenzie Stadium.
With the win, Elms improves to 12-16 overall, 8-4 in conference play, while Southern Vermont falls to 7-28 on the season, 3-10 in NECC action. The Blazers and Mountaineers will complete the series on Saturday, April 21 in Bennington, Vt. with a pair of seven-inning games beginning at 12:00 p.m.
The sides played three scoreless innings as both starting pitchers found a groove early on. Elms' senior starter Matt Wood (Feeding Hills, Mass.) tossed eight strikeouts in six innings of work, while Southern Vermont starter Greg Gilmore (Dover, N.H.) fanned three hitters through 4.1 frames on the mound.
The Mountaineers broke across with five runs in the top of the fourth frame when Dillon Desiderato (Burlington, Conn.) singled and then scored on a double by Cody LaBadia (Howes Caves, N.Y.). LaBadia and Sal Sciara (Massapequa, N.Y.) later came around on a two-run double by Max Ginter (Hamden, Conn.), while Chris Nicastro (Cranford, N.J.) and Pat Warrington (Folcroft, Pa.) added run-scoring singles in the inning.
Southern Vermont added to its lead when LaBadia cranked a one-out triple to left field and was singled in by Sciara to give the Mountaineers a 6-0 advantage in the top of the fifth inning.
Elms rallied in the home half of the fifth when junior center fielder Steve Fisher (West Boylston, Mass.) earned a bases loaded walk to drive in senior designated hitter Sean Shanley (Bristol, Conn.), followed by a hit-by-pitch to senior second baseman Nico Iavicoli (Hampden, Mass.). Freshman left fielder Brady Forrest (Hampden, Mass.) then cleared the bases with a three-run double and then scored on a base hit off the bat of sophomore right fielder Felix Montalvo (Carolina, Puerto Rico) to even the contest at 6-6 after five innings of play.
Following two more scoreless stanzas, the Blazers forged ahead in the bottom of the eighth inning when senior third baseman Andrew Kravontka (Manchester, Conn.) walked and later scored on a wild pitch, and when Fisher scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Forrest to give Elms an 8-6 edge.
Elms' junior righty Ryan Burnette (Chicopee, Mass.) entered in the seventh inning and pitched a pair of scoreless frames of relief issuing three strikeouts to earn the win and improve to 3-3 overall. Sophomore reliever Derek Leal (Charlton, Mass.) pitched the final inning and struck out a batter to earn his fourth save of the season.
Forrest finished with four RBI in the game, while Fisher, and Montalvo each recorded two hits in the winning effort.
Southern Vermont was led by LaBardia who was 3 for 5 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Sciara and Nicastro contributed a pair of hits each.
Dave Northup (Richmond, R.I.) pitched the final 3.2 innings on the hill and suffered the loss, dealing five punch-outs despite falling to 1-3 overall.