NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College baseball team salvaged the final game of its weekend series with Elms College, winning 4-2 on Sunday afternoon in a clash of the top two teams in the New England Collegiate Conference standings.
The game featured timely hitting—all six runs were scored with two outs—and plenty of strong pitching and defense. Mitchell got a quality start from Axel De Jesus (Stamford, Conn./Stamford) and a stellar relief appearance from Eddie Santiago (New London, Conn./New London), who closed out the game with 3.2 scoreless innings from the hill.
Tyler Pina (Plainville, Conn./Plainville) was one of four Mariners with a pair of hits on the day and finished with two RBI. Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn./Lyman Hall) and Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) paced the Blazers with three hits apiece.
Elms put runners on the corners with one out in the first, but De Jesus got a ground ball double play to escape the inning unscathed. Mitchell pushed across a run in the home half as Tristan Hurley (Mystic, Conn./Fitch) led off with an infield single and later scored on a base hit by Pina.
The Blazers got the run back in the second thanks to an RBI single by Brian Hungerford (New Preston, Conn./Shepaug Valley) that scored Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn./Enrico Fermi) from second base. The Mariners answered with a run in the bottom of the frame as Markus Melendez (Storrs, Conn./E.O. Smith) delivered an RBI single to right to plate Dan Frattaroli (Manchester, Conn./Manchester) for the 2-1 lead.
After both teams left runners in scoring position in the third, Elms starter Cody Lemieux (Torrington, Conn./Torrington) worked out of trouble in the fourth. A one-out double by Garet Griffin (Ashaway, R.I./Plainfield) gave the Mariners an opportunity to extend the lead, but Lemieux got a foul out and a fly ball to keep the deficit to one.
Hungerford led off the fifth with a single back up the box and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Harrison later tied the game at 2-2 with a single through the right side to score Hungerford from third.
A two-out double by Pina put Mitchell back in front in the bottom of the fifth. After Jack Finnegan (Old Saybrook, Conn./Xavier)reached on a fielder's choice and stole second, Pina drove a ball into the right-center gap for his second RBI of the day.
Santiago was dropped into a pressure situation in the sixth. After a pair of errors and a hit batter loaded the bases, Santiago took the ball from De Jesus and needed only five pitches to escape the jam. He got pinch hitter Josh Berthiaume (Pittsfield, Mass./Taconic) to foul out to third and Alex Hoss (Stafford Springs, Conn./Stafford) to fly out to right to keep Mitchell on top 3-2.
Both Lemieux and Santiago got out of tough spots with inning-ending double plays in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, as the score remained 3-2 in favor of Mitchell.
The Mariners manufactured a run in the bottom of the seventh to extend the lead. Melendez led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on a ground ball and scored on a two-out single up the middle by Finnegan.
Elms made things interesting in the ninth as Wadja and Harrison each singled with two outs to put the tying run on base. But Santiago buckled down to get a ground ball to end the game, securing his first save of the year.
De Jesus improved to 4-2 with the win. He went 5.1 innings and allowed two runs on six hits while striking out two.
Lemieux (3-3) threw 8.0 innings and yielded four runs (three earned) on 11 hits with one strikeout.
Elms (26-9 overall, 9-6 NECC) returns to action at home against Union College on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Mitchell (20-6, 10-3 NECC) begins a five-game road stretch at Nichols College on Wednesday, April 20 at 2 p.m.
Source: (Mitchell Athletics)