NEW LONDON, Conn. – Elms College received two hits each from three different players, but Mitchell College used a five-run fourth and a four-run fifth as the top-seeded Mariners topped the fourth-seeded Blazers, 11-0 in Friday afternoon's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship tournament contest at Alumni Field in New London, Conn.
With the loss, Elms moves to 12-19 and will take on third-seeded Lesley University on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. in an elimination game. Mitchell improves to 20-11-1 on the season and will take on second-seeded Becker College which posted a 13-12 victory over the Lynx in 11 innings.
After 3.5 scoreless innings, Nova Crespo (New London, Conn.) was hit by a pitch to leadoff the frame before Mitchell loaded the bases on a pair of two-out walks to Will Carkowsky (Cold Spring, N.Y.) and Blaze Iannetti (Middlesex, N.J.). An RBI free pass to Gavin LaLima (Waterford, Conn.) and another hit batter drove in two runs, while Kenneth Olszewski (Canterbury, Conn.) was also hit by a pitch to give the Mariners a 3-0 lead. A two-run double to right field by Evan Peck (Shelton, Conn.) lifted the lead to 5-0 before Elms' freshman reliever Cody Lemieux (Torrington, Conn.) struck out the next batter to end the rally.
Following three groundouts by the Blazers in the top of the fifth, Mitchell extended its lead to 9-0 in the bottom of the frame when Rafael Garcia (New Britain, Conn.) singled and advanced to third on a double to left field by Neftali Arroyo (New Haven, Conn.). Following a hit batter, Garcia scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Iannetti before LaLima belted a triple to right field. Marc Dorsi (West Haven, Conn.) then drove in LaLima with a single through the right side.
Lemieux held the Mariners scoreless over the next two innings before Olszewski delivered an RBI triple and then came full circle on a groundout by Peck to give Mitchell an 11-0 lead.
Mariners' starter Axel De Jesus (Stratford, Conn.) tossed a complete-game shutout. He struck out one and scattered eight hits in nine innings of work to improve to 3-2 on the hill.
Elms advanced a runner into scoring position in the top of the second when junior third baseman Geoff Frost (Ludlow, Mass.) legged out an infield hit, advanced to second on a walk to freshman first baseman Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) and then raced to third on a fly out to right field, but was stranded there as De Jesus used an inning-ending groundout to keep the Blazers off the board.
Elms again had a runner on third when senior designated hitter Sam Farnsworth (Westfield, Mass.) singled through the left side, moved to second on a one-out base hit up the middle by Zima and then advanced to third when senior right fielder Alex King (Lebanon, Conn.) reached on a fielder's choice. However, another fielder's choice stranded Farnsworth at third and got Mitchell out of the jam.
Farnsworth, Frost and Zima each had two hits in the losing effort for the Blazers while freshman left fielder Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) and sophomore second baseman Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) each had a hit.
LaLima, Dorsi, Peck and Garcia had two hits each to lead the Mariners, while Peck drove in four runs and LaLima added three RBI.
Elms' senior starter Curtis LeBeau (Auburn, Mass.) suffered the loss after 3.2 innings of work and moves to 1-5 on the season. Lemieux fanned a pair of batters in the no-decision.