NEW LONDON, Conn. – Elms College sophomore pitcher Tom Weldon (Springfield, Mass.) set a program single-game record with 13 strikeouts as the fourth-seeded Blazers notched an 8-2 victory over third-seeded Lesley University in Saturday morning's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship tournament contest at Alumni Field on the campus of Mitchell College.
With the win, Elms improves to 13-19 on the season and advances to game five of the tournament against the loser or top-seeded Mitchell College and second-seeded Becker College. That game will start at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Lesley concludes its season at 10-17 overall.
Weldon was superb on the hill striking out a school-record 13 in 8.0 innings of work. He allowed just two runs on six hits and walked four batters to improve to 3-4 on the season.
The Blazers pounded out 13 hits led by junior center fielder Brady Forrest (Hampden, Mass.) who was 4 for 5 with a double and two runs scored; senior catcher Zach Dreher (Naugatuck, Conn.) who was 3 for 5 with a double, three RBI and two runs scored; and sophomore second baseman Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) was 3 for 4 with three runs scored. Senior designated hitter Sam Farnsworth (Westfield, Mass.) also drove in a pair of runs in the winning effort.
Lesley plated the first run of the contest in the top of the second inning when Tyler Plourd (Canton, Ohio) delivered an RBI single through the left side of the infield plating Joe Muratore (Mamoroneck, N.Y.) who singled earlier in the inning.
Elms responded with three runs in the bottom of the third on the strength of a two-run double by Dreher who later scored on a wild pitch to give the Blazers a 3-1 lead.
Elms added to its lead in the bottom of the fifth when Farnsworth drove in sophomore shortstop Nolan Medeiros (Taunton, Mass.) with a sacrifice fly before senior right fielder Alex King (Lebanon, Conn.) drove in the fifth run on a base hit to center field to set the score at 5-1.
An RBI single to right field by Dreher extended the advantage to 6-1 in the bottom of the sixth, before Muratore scored on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth to pull the Lynx to within four at 6-2.
The Blazers put the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth when Medeiros drove in Wadja with a single through the left side followed by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Farnsworth to set the score at 8-2.
Elms' junior reliever Sean Sinnott (Granby, Conn.) entered for Weldon in the ninth and pitched a scoreless frame to seal the win.
Muratore was 3 for 4 with two runs scored for Lesley in the losing effort, while Plourd, Casey Blanchard (Bernardston, Mass.), Kevin Hopwood (Winter Haven, Fla.) and Mike Slaby (Foxboro, Mass.) each had a hit.
Ryan Genua (Prospect, Conn.) suffered the loss on the hill for the Lynx after pitching six innings to move to 3-3 on the season.