Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
WORCESTER, Mass. – The Elms College baseball fell to host Clark University, 8-3, in non-conference action to open their 2016 season at Granger Baseball Diamond Sunday afternoon. The Blazers move to 0-1 on the season, while Clark improves to 1-0.
The Blazers came out swinging in the first inning, loading the bases on singles from junior Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) and junior Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.), but a double play ball stifled the Elms threat.
After two scoreless innings, the Cougars put runners on second and third after a double from junior Tyler Hutchinson (Greene, Maine). Sophomore Teddy Downing (Cambridge, Mass.) hit a grounder to third base where Elms junior Tim Gelzinis (N. Dighton, Mass.) made a play from home but his throw sailed over the head of sophomore catcher Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn.), allowing a pair of runs to score. Clark pushed their lead to 3-0 in the third on an RBI single from senior Zach Richall (Tyngsboro, Mass.).
In the fifth, Clark added to their lead as senior James Conway (Newburyport, Mass.) delivered an RBI single to left field, followed by an RBI double from freshman Mike Tice (Chelmsford, Mass.) in the sixth to extend the Cougars advantage to 5-0.
The Blazers threatened in the top of the sixth as junior Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) to centerfield, and then tried to score from first on a double by junior Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.), but we can cut down at home on an excellent relay by Clark.
Trailing 6-0 in the top of the eighth, the Blazers dented the scoreboard as Wadja and freshman Tim Donahue (Westfield, Mass.) opened the frame with singles, followed by an RBI single from Zima to plate Wadja. Donahue came around to score on an RBI bloop single from junior Harrison. Zima scored on a wild pitch with two outs to cut the Cougars lead to 6-3.
Clark responded with insurance runs in the eighth inning behind RBI singles from sophomore Kyle Bonicki (Waterbury, Conn.) and Conway to send the Cougars to the 8-3 win.
The Blazers racked up 13 hits, led by Zima with three, while Wadja, Donahue, and Harrison chipped in two hits apiece. Elms senior Tom Weldon (Springfield, Mass.) tossed two perfect innings with two strikeouts to open the game for the Blazers, followed by two innings each from senior Andrew Sadowski (Northampton, Mass.) and junior Cody Lemieux (Torrington, Conn.). Sadowski (0-1) took the loss, allowing three runs, one earned, on four hits. Freshman Tom Owens (Suffield, Conn.) surrendered one run on three hits with a strikeout in his collegiate debut.
Clark slugged 15 hits, powered by Conway with four hits and three runs batted in, while Bonicki, Hutchinson, senior Michael Eglow (Delmar, N.Y.), and graduate David Eschen (New York, N.Y.). Clark sophomore Connor Walsh (Marstons Mills, Mass.) earned the win, allowing three hits in five scoreless innings of work.
The Blazers will return to the diamond when they travel to Florida for the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic. Elms opens the Classic with a doubleheader against Illinois College on Saturday, March 5th in Fort Myers. The Cougars will face Capital on March 5th at the Russmatt Invitational in Auburndale, Florida.