Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Elms College baseball team continued the best start in program history, sweeping Rivier University in a doubleheader at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic Thursday morning at Terry Park. The Blazers captured a 3-2 win in the first game, and then slugged past the Raiders, 13-2, in the nightcap. The Blazers improve to 9-1 on the season, while Rivier drops to 0-10 overall. The Blazers previous best 10-game start was a 5-5 mark done on three occassions.
Game 1: Elms 3, Rivier 2
The opener featured a pitcher's duel between Elms junior Cody Lemieux (Torrington, Conn.) and Rivier senior Spencer Aguiar (Malden, Mass.) across the first four innings of play.
After Lemieux held Rivier off the scoreboard in the fifth, the Blazers bats woke up and plated five runs in the bottom of the frame. With the bases loaded, freshman Alex Hoss (Stafford Springs, Conn.) knocked an RBI single, followed by junior Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) getting hit by a pitch to bring home junior Anthony Garde (Westfield, Mass.) to stake Elms to a 2-0 lead. The Raiders kept a run off the board with a force out at home plate, but the Blazers kept cranking along as junior Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) and Tim Gelzinis (N. Dighton, Mass.) ripped back-to-back two-run doubles to extend the Elms advantage to 6-0. Lemieux limited the Raiders to two hits in the final two innings to lock up the 6-2 win.
Lemieux (2-0) tossed a complete game shutout, allowing just six hits in seven innings of work with seven strikeouts. Gelzinis went 2-for-4 from the plate with two RBIs.
Aguiar (0-2) took the loss, surrendering six runs on eight hits with three strikeouts. Sophomore Tyler Ferdinand (Middleboro, Mass.) and freshman Brandon Thibault (Methuen, Mass.) led Rivier at the plate, going 2-for-3.
Game 2: Elms 13, Rivier 2
The Blazers jumped on the Raiders early in the second game, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning. With runners on first and third, Zima knocked an RBI single through the right side of the infield, followed by a single from Gelzinis to load the bases. Sophomore Andy Vasquez (Queens, N.Y.) drew a bases load walk to put Elms up 2-0, followed by a two-run single from sophomore Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn.) to hand the Blazers a 4-0 advantage.
Elms added to the lead in the second inning as Zima plated Hoss on an RBI fielder's choice, and then Wadja raced home on a passed ball to push the Blazers lead to 6-0 after two innings.
The lone damage caused by Rivier came in the bottom of the third on a two-run single up the middle from senior Taylor Black (West Springfield, Mass.) to make it 6-2. Elms responded with an RBI single from Vasquez in the fourth.
The Blazers put the game out of reach in the fifth with two outs as junior Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.) and Zima delivered back-to-back RBI singles to extend the Elms lead to 9-2. In the sixth, the Blazers loaded the bases on three consecutive singles, and broke through on an RBI fielder's choice from Hoss and Wadja, followed by a sacrifice fly from Zima to make it a 12-3 game. Elms tacked on a final run in the seventh on an RBI single from Hoss en route to the 13-2 victory.
The Blazers registered a season-high 17 hits, led Zima, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Harrison and Brunetti went 3-for-5 at the plate and combined for three RBIs. Vasquez drove in three runs on two hits, while Hoss and Brunetti knocked in two runs each. Freshman Tom Owens (2-0; Suffield, Conn.) earned the win in six innings of work, allowing two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts.
Raiders freshman Zachary Barboza (0-1; Westford, Mass.) suffered the loss, giving up six runs, four earned, on five hits in three innings pitched. Thibault and senior Jeremy Ball (Swanzey, N.H.) had two hits apiece, while Black drove in two runs.
The Blazers will be back in action Saturday afternoon with a road trip doubleheader at Purchase College. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Rivier faces Defiance in a doubleheader Friday morning at 9:00 a.m.