Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
HOLYOKE, Mass. – The Elms College baseball team overcame a game one loss to claim a victory in the nightcap during a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) doubleheader at MacKenzie Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Blazers fell to the Nighthawks, 6-1, in game one, and then captured a 3-1 win in the finale. The Blazers sit at 23-7 overall, and 6-4 in the NECC, while Newbury moves to 1-7 in league play, and 10-17 on the season.
Game 1: Newbury 6, Elms 1
The Nighthawks dented the scoreboard in the top of the first as senior Ryan Zahornasky (Shelton, Conn.) knocked an RBI single into centerfield, giving Newbury a 1-0 lead. With runners on second and third, sophomore Billy Stephen (Windermere, Fla.) delivered an RBI groundout to plate Zahornasky. The Nighthawks made it 3-0 on a double steal that brought home senior Craig Barnett (Melbourne, Australia).
The Blazers threatened in the second with runners on second and third and one out, but Barnett induced back-to-back groundouts to maintain the 3-0 lead. Elms broke through in the bottom of the third with junior Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.) lacing a double to right field, and then scored on throwing error by the Nighthawks to trim the deficit to 3-1.
Newbury added to their lead in the fifth behind an RBI double to left field from Barnett, scoring junior C.J. Ingraham (Georgetown, Mass.) to make it 4-1. Elms held a run off the board as sophomore Andy Vasquez (Queens, N.Y.) cut down Newbury junior Ian Hruniak (Lutz, Fla.), who was trying to score from second on a Zahornasky single.
In the top of the seventh, the Nighthawks pushed their advantage to 6-1 as Barnett knocked an RBI single to centerfield, and then Zahornasky came around to score on a bobble from the centerfielder. The Blazers put runners on second and third in the bottom of the frame, but Barnett forced a game-ending pop out to collect the 6-1 win.
Junior Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) and freshman Alex Hoss (Stafford Springs, Conn.) led the Blazers with two hits apiece. Freshman starter Tom Owens (4-1; Enfield, Conn.) suffered the loss, allowing four runs and five hits with three strikeouts.
Zahornasky went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Barnett was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. Barnett (2-3) earned the complete game victory from the hill, giving up an unearned run on eight hits with two strikeouts.
Game 2: Elms 3, Newbury 1
After four scoreless innings, the Blazers broke through in the bottom of the fifth as junior Brian Hungerford (New Preston, Conn.) delivered an RBI sacrifice fly, scoring senior R.J. Lyrenmann (Glendale, Ariz.) to put Elms ahead 1-0. Hoss followed with an RBI single, followed by a bases loaded RBI groundout from Harrison to increase the Blazers advantage to 3-0.
Newbury threatened in the top of the seventh, loading the bases on singles from Hruniak and Ingraham. Zahornasky plated the Nighthawks lone run, forcing an error on a hot shot to shortstop, cutting the Elms lead to 3-1. Elms senior Brian Langdon (Beacon Falls, Conn.) induced a game-ending double play on the following at bat to lock up the 3-1 win.
Hoss went 2-for-3 with an RBI from the leadoff spot for Elms. Junior starter Cody Lemieux (3-2; Torrington, Conn.) earned the win, allowing four hits in five scoreless innings of work with a pair of strikeouts.
Newbury was paced by Hruniak going 3-for-4 at the dish, while Zahornasky, Ingraham, and freshman David Center (Medford, Mass.) all went 1-for-3. Junior Ethan Forrest (0-5; East Bridgewater, Mass.) suffered the loss, allowing three runs and seven hits while fanning four batters.
The Blazers will be back on the diamond against Newbury Sunday afternoon at the New England Baseball Complex to complete the season series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.