Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
HOLYOKE, Mass. – The Elms College baseball team recorded a pair of victories, including a walk-off win, against visiting Mitchell College in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) doubleheader at MacKenzie Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Blazers walked off with a 4-3 extra-inning victory in the opener, and slugged past the Mariners, 8-3, in the finale. Elms improves to 26-8 on the season and 9-5 in conference play, while Mitchell sits at 9-3 in league play, and 19-6 overall.
Game 1: Elms 4, Mitchell 3 (8 Innings)
Mitchell threatened in the top of the third as junior Tristan Hurley (Mystic, Conn.) ripped a two-out triple into the right-centerfield gap, but Elms senior Tom Weldon (Springfield, Mass.) struck out Mitchell sophomore Kyle Hartenstein (Meriden, Conn.) looking to preserve the scoreless game.
The Mariners cracked the scoreboard in the top of the fourth with junior Tyler Pina (Plainville, Conn.) knocking a double to left field, and then scored on an RBI double from junior Chandler Whitney (Beaverton, Ore.) to hand Mitchell a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Garet Griffin (Ashaway, R.I.) delivered an RBI single to centerfield, scoring Whitney, followed by Griffin coming around on an RBI single by freshman Markus Melendez (Storrs, Conn.) to build a 3-0 advantage for the Mariners.
The Blazers chipped away at the lead, beginning with a two-out RBI walk by sophomore Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn.) in the bottom of the fourth to make it a 3-1 game.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Blazers orchestrated their comeback as freshman Josh Berthiaume (Pittsfield, Mass.) and Hoss drew back-to-back walks, followed by an RBI single from junior Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) to trim the Mariners lead to a run, 3-2. The Blazers evened the score at 3-3 as Hoss came around to score on an RBI single from junior Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.), sending the game into extra innings.
The Mariners loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth but Weldon left them stranded with an inning-ending groundout. In the bottom of the frame, Elms senior Nolan Medeiros (Taunton, Mass.) reached on an infield single, and moved to second as junior Brian Hungerford (New Preston, Conn.) drew a walk. With two outs, Hoss lifted a single to left field, scoring Medeiros and giving the Blazers the 4-3 walkoff victory.
Harrison and Zima tallied two hits each, while Harrison drove in a run and scored. Weldon (9-0) registered his fourth complete game of the season, allowing three runs, two earned, with 10 strikeouts, his third double-digit strikeout effort of the season. Weldon ranks first in the nation in victories with nine.
Pina went 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Whitney and Griffin each scored and drove in a run. Mariners senior Al Jordan Johnson (Groton, Conn.) took a no-decision, giving up three runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Senior Domenick Giaramida (Middle Village, N.Y.) took the loss in relief, scattering one run on four hits.
Game 2: Elms 8, Mitchell 3
The Blazers little time getting on the scoreboard in the nightcap, tacking seven runs on the Mariners in the bottom of the first. With runners on first and second, Harrison knocked an RBI single to left field, plating Hoss to stake Elms to a 1-0 lead. After an RBI groundout from junior Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.), Brunetti laced a two-run single to centerfield, pushing the advantage to 4-0. Hoss, Wadja, and Harrison drew three consecutive bases loaded RBI walks to extend the Blazers lead to 7-0.
Elms pushed the gap to 8-0 in the second as Hungerford ripped an RBI double into the left-centerfield gap, scoring Medeiros from first base. Mitchell cracked the scoreboard in the top of the fourth behind an RBI single from Griffin to make it 8-1. The Mariners added a pair in the top of the fifth with sophomore Jack Finnegan (Old Saybrook, Conn.) delivered an RBI groundout, and then Hurley scampered home on a wild pitch to trim the Blazers lead to 8-3.
Harrison and Brunetti each drove in a pair of runs while going 1-for-3 from the plate. Hoss and Wadja both delivered an RBI and scored, while Medeiros cross home twice. Elms senior Andrew Sadowski (5-3; Northampton, Mass.) earned the win in five innings of work, allowing three runs and six hits with four strikeouts.
Pina led Mitchell at the dish, going 3-for-3 with a run scored. Mariners senior Tyler Shamas (2-1; Westbrook, Conn.) was chased in less than an inning of work, surrendering seven runs on four hits with a strikeout.
The Blazers will look to complete the series sweep of Mitchell when the squads return to action Sunday at Noon at Alumni Field.