HOLYOKE, Mass. – The Elms College baseball team used a four-run sixth inning to stake a 5-0 lead, but Lesley University scored eight times over the final three innings to post a come-from-behind, 8-6 victory over the Blazers in Wednesday evening's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) baseball game at MacKenzie Stadium in Holyoke, Mass.
With the loss, Elms moves to 4-10 on the season, 0-2 in NECC play, while Lesley improves to 5-6 overall, 5-3 in league play.
In the bottom of the first, junior center fielder Brady Forrest (Hampden, Conn.) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, stole second and then advanced to third on a failed pick-off attempt. An RBI groundout by sophomore shortstop Nolan Medeiros (Taunton, Mass.) to give the Blazers a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the second, Lesley answered loading the bases on a walk, a single and a hit batter but Elms' senior starter Curtis LeBeau (Auburn, Mass.) forced a groundout to third base to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Elms threatened when senior right fielder Alex King (Lebanon, Conn.) led off the inning with a single, freshman left fielder Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) drew a walk and Forrest added a single through the left side to load the bases for the Blazers. Lesley starting pitcher Ray Cohen (Coventry, Conn.) got out of the jam when he tossed a strikeout and forced a fly out to center field to keep the Lynx's deficit at 1-0.
In the bottom of the sixth stanza, Elms loaded the bases once more when senior designated hitter Sam Farnsworth (Westfield, Mass.) singled and then advanced to third when junior third baseman Geoff Frost (Ludlow, Mass.) doubled down the left field line. A one-out walk to King loaded the sacks for Gelzinis who singled to right field and advanced all the way to third on an outfield miscue allowing all three runs to score. Gelzinis then scored on a passed ball to give Elms a 5-0 lead.
Lesley answered with a two-out rally in the top of the seventh inning when Adam Ciampi (Westford, Mass.) was hit by a pitch, relief pitcher Ryan Genua (Prospect, Conn.) singled to left and Robert Parson (Commack, N.Y.) delivered a single through the right side to load the bases. A bases-clearing dropped fly ball allowed the Lynx to pull to within two at 5-3 before sophomore reliever Kyle Bartlett (Huntington, Mass.) got out of the jam with an inning-ending fielder's choice.
In the top of the eighth, Lesley added to its rally when David Hersey (Wolfeboro, N.Y.) reached on an error and Cohen and Ciampi tallied back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases. A double to right field by Genua plated two runs and tied the game at 5-5 before a one-out single by Casey Blanchard (Bernardston, Mass.) allowed the go-ahead run come home. The Lynx tacked on one more run when Tyler Plourd (Canton, Mass.) delivered a sacrifice fly to set the score at 7-5.
In the top of the ninth, Lesley pushed across another run on an RBI bunt single to give the Lynx an 8-5 lead.
In the home half of the ninth, Gelzinis singled and advanced to second on a miscue by the Lesley infield, went to third on a groundout and then scored on an RBI single by Forrest to narrow Elms' deficit to two at 8-6, but Genua forced a game-ending double play to seal the come-from-behind victory for the Lynx.
Gelzinis was 3 for 3 with two RBI and two runs scored for the Blazers while Forrest was 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI in the losing effort.
Bartlett (0-1) suffered the loss in 1.2 innings of relief work, while Genua picked up the win for Lesley following 3.2 innings in reserve on the hill. Cohen pitched the first 5.1 frames for the Lynx and issued seven strikeouts in the no-decision.
Ciampi, Genua and Cohen were each 2 for 3 at the plate. Genua drove in two and scored two runs, while Ciampi also crossed the dish twice.
Elms returns to NECC action on Thursday, April 10 when it hosts Daniel Webster College at 7:30 p.m. at MacKenzie Stadium in Holyoke, Mass.