Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The second-seeded Elms College baseball team will open the 2015 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) tournament against third-seeded Lesley University Friday afternoon at tournament host Mitchell College. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
The Blazers registered a 17-15 regular season mark, and a 10-8 record in NECC play. The 17 wins are the third-most in program history for Elms. In conference play, Elms posted a series sweep of Southern Vermont, while taking 2-of-3 against Lesley and Daniel Webster.
Sophomore Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) led the Blazers at the plate, posting team-highs in batting average (.424.), hits (50), and runs batted in (22). Zima ranked first in the NECC in hits, and second in batting average. Freshman Michael Bombard (Chicopee, Mass.) was one of the top rookies in the conference, clubbing .351 from the dish with 27 hits, including four doubles, a triple and a home run, with 18 runs batted in and five stolen bases. Senior Brady Forrest (Hampden, Mass.) and sophomore Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) tallied 33 hits apiece, while Forrest scored a team-high 26 runs with a team-high nine doubles and nine stolen bases.
On the mound, the Elms staff has been helmed by the trio of senior Sean Sinnott (Granby, Mass.) and junior Tom Weldon (Springfield, Mass.) and Andrew Sadowski (Northampton, Mass.). Weldon led the NECC in strikeouts, fanning 58 batters in 54 innings of work, while posting a 6-2 record with five complete games. Sadowski registered a league-high six complete games, logging a 5-4 record in eight appearances with 51 strikeouts, third-most in the NECC, in 52 innings. Sinnott recorded a team-low 2.85, ranking fifth in the conference, in 41 innings with 43 strikeouts. Junior Brian Langdon (Beacon Falls, Conn.) notched a league-high five saves with 16 strikeout and a 3.07 earned run average in 14.2 innings pitched out of the bullpen.
Against Lesley, the Blazers swept a doubleheader against the Lynx on March 31st, and then fell to Lesley, 6-4, on April 14th. In the doubleheader sweep, Weldon delivered a complete game shutout with seven strikeouts, followed by Sadowski striking out a career-high 11 batters in a complete game effort. Bombard went 4-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI in the doubleheader, while Zima added three hits and an RBI.
The Lynx finished the year with a 14-21 overall record and an even 9-9 mark in conference action, earning the No. 3 seed in the tournament. Lesley swept their season series with Daniel Webster College and Becker College, while picking up wins over Newbury College and Southern Vermont.
The Lynx are riding into the tournament on a hot streak as they have won six of their last eight games, including a postseason clinching, 6-4 comeback win over Daniel Webster College on Monday. Senior leadoff hitter Rob Parson (Commack, N.Y.) is at the center of Lesley offense as he leads the team in batting average (.379), runs scored (26), triples (3), stolen bases (10), home runs (1), and is tied for the team lead in RBI (20). Freshman hurler Tom Muratore (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) leads the pitching staff as he ranks fourth in the NECC in ERA (2.14), third in wins (6), second in strikeouts (53), third in innings pitched (59), and first in complete games (6).
All-time, Elms holds a 13-3 advantage over Lesley in 16 career meeting dating back to 2011. The Blazers defeated the Lynx, 8-2, during the 2014 NECC Championship tournament.