BENNINGTON, Vt. – Elms College freshman left fielder Dan McCormack (Shelton, Conn.) reached on an RBI fielder's choice in the top of the 10th inning to score junior first baseman Alex King (Lebanon, Conn.) and break a 6-6 tie and lift the Blazers to a 7-6 victory over Southern Vermont College in Sunday afternoon's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) baseball game at Bill Epstein Field.
With the win, Elms completes the series sweep and improves to 17-14 overall, 9-5 in NECC action. Southern Vermont falls to 11-19 on the season, 5-9 in league action.
After the teams exchanged runs in the first inning, Southern Vermont pushed three across in the bottom of the second when RJ Pingitore (Amsteram, N.Y.) drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases juiced. Cody LaBadia (Howes Caves, N.Y.) then delivered a sacrifice fly to center field before a Corey Armstrong (Bennington, Vt.) single up the middle plated the Mountaineers' fourth run of the game to set the Southern Vermont lead at 4-1.
Elms chipped away at the deficit when junior catcher Zachary Dreher (Naugatuck, Conn.) smoked a two-run single down the left field line plating McCormack and freshman second baseman Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) who both reached on base hits to start the frame.
An RBI single by LaBadia in the bottom of the fourth evened the game at 5-5 until Elms regained the edge when Wadja singled to lead off the ninth stanza and later scored when Dreher reached on an error to give the Blazes a 6-5 lead.
Corey Briggs (Adams, Mass.) tied the game with a run-scoring two-bagger in the bottom of the ninth scoring Roland Hernandez (Pico Rivera, Calif.) who earned a free pass to start the inning.
In the top of the 10th frame, King singled through the left side, advanced to second when Dwire walked, moved to third on a free pass issued to Wadja and then scored when McCormack reached on a fielder's choice to give Elms a 7-6 advantage.
Senior left-hander John Russell (Springfield, Mass.), who pitched the final five innings in relief, allowed a pair of singles in the home half of the 10th inning but forced a fly out and dealt a strikeout to preserve the one-run win for the Blazers.
McCormack finished 3 for 6 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Wadja also had a 3 for 4 effort at the plate and scored twice. Dreher drove in three runs in the contest.
Russell moved to 2-3 on the hill with the win allowing one run on four hits and struck out four batters in 5.0 frames of relief. Senior righty Ryan Burnette (Chicopee, Mass.) pitched 3.1 innings in reserve and allowed one unearned run on three hits and struck out a batter.
Briggs had three hits for the Southern Vermont in the losing effort, while Jarod Hayen (Esperance, N.Y.), LaBadia and Armstrong each had two hits. LaBadia and Armstrong both drove in two runs.
Dave Northup (Richmond, R.I.) suffered the loss to move to 3-4. He surrendered two runs (one earned) on four hits and struck out three, while starter Kurt Kowalsczyk (Amsterdam, N.Y.) allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and fanned six hitters. Both pitched 5.0 frames.
Elms returns to action on Wednesday, April 24 when it travels to Lesley University for a single, nine-inning contest to wrap up the series at 7:00 p.m.