NEW LONDON, Conn. – Top-seeded Mitchell College and third-seeded Southern Vermont College each picked up wins on the opening day at the 2016 New England Collegiate Conference Baseball Championship on Friday at Alumni Field.
Kyle Hartenstein (Meriden, Conn./Maloney) went 4-for-4 with two RBI to lead Mitchell to a 10-5 victory over fourth-seeded Lesley University in the day's first game. Domenick Giaramida (Middle Village, N.Y./Christ the King) pitched 4.2 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win, striking out three while allowing only four hits.
In the nightcap, starting pitcher Dylan Angelo (Ft. Johnson, N.Y./Amsterdam) tossed a complete game to lead SVC to a 5-3 win over second-seeded Elms College. Zack Stacey (Saratoga, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) went 4-for-5 at the plate to lead the Mountaineers while Dan Mason (Bloomingdale, N.J./Butler) added two hits and three RBI.
The NECC Championship resumes with three games on Saturday, April 30. Lesley (19-18 overall) and Elms (30-11 overall) will square off in an elimination game at 9:30 a.m. while Mitchell (25-9 overall) and Southern Vermont (19-18 overall) will meet at 12:30 p.m. for a spot in the title round. Saturday's final game between the winner of Lesley/Elms and the loser of Mitchell/Southern Vermont is slated for a 3:30 p.m. start to earn the final spot in the championship round Sunday.
Game 1 – Mitchell 10, Lesley 5
Lesley got off to a good start by plating two runs in the opening inning. Singles by Gustavo Polidor (Caracas, Venezuela/IMG Academy), J.P. Agiorgousis (Hanscom, Mass./Bedford) and Mike Slaby (Foxboro, Mass./Foxboro) loaded the bases with no outs. A ground ball by Ryan Pumphret (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) brought home both runs as Agiorgousis took advantage of a bad throw to score from second base. Mitchell starter Axel De Jesus (Stratford, Conn./Stratford) avoided further trouble by getting a strikeout and double play to escape the mess.
Mitchell tied the game with a pair of runs in the home half of the first. Tristan Hurley (Mystic, Conn./Fitch) and Hartenstein singled to start the rally. After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, the first run came home on a ground out by Tyler Pina (Plainville, Conn./Plainville), and a Lesley error later allowed the tying run to score.
The Mariners pulled ahead 4-2 in the second inning. Hartenstein delivered an RBI single to plate the go-ahead run while Pina doubled to the fence in left to score the second.
A ground-rule double by Pumphret put two runners in scoring position for the Lynx in the third. Jacob Cervantes (Oxnard, Calif./Oxnard) and Dan O'Donnell (Clark, N.J./Arthur L. Johnson) each knocked in runs with infield grounders to tie the game at 4-4.
Lesley starter Koby Mitchell (Fall River, Mass./Bishop Connolly) got an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the third to keep the game tied. The Lynx then pulled back ahead in the fourth, scoring on a first-and-third situation in which the trail runner got caught in a rundown while the lead runner scampered home.
The Mariners employed a similar strategy to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. With runners on the corners and two outs, Pina drew a throw down to second on a steal attempt. Hartenstein broke for home on the throw and beat the relay to the plate to make it a 5-5 game.
The Lynx tried to turn a double play to end the sixth inning, but a throwing error ended up costing them a run as Mitchell pulled in front 6-5. Chandler Whitney (Beaverton, Ore./South Ridge) followed with an RBI single to pad the margin to two, one of three hits in the contest for the Mitchell left fielder.
The Mariners added three insurance runs in the seventh to go up 10-5. Hartenstein and Jack Finnegan (Old Saybrook, Conn./Xavier)each provided RBI singles in the frame while the final run scored on a throwing error.
Giaramida pitched around two singles in the eighth to keep Lesley off the scoreboard. He then retired the side in order in the ninth to secure the win, improving to 4-2 on the season.
Agiorgousis, Pumphret and Nicholas Ferragine (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) each finished with a pair of hits to pace the Lesley offense. Nick DeGrenier (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield) suffered the loss on the hill, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits in 3.0 innings of relief.
Game 2 – Southern Vermont 5, Elms 3
Both teams put a runner in scoring position in the first but only Southern Vermont cashed in. Stacey led off the game with a double down the left field line, and Mason singled through the right side to score the run before a single out was recorded. In the home half, Elms put two on with two outs before Angelo ended the threat via strikeout to keep the 1-0 lead intact.
After allowing the lone run in the first, Elms starter Tom Weldon (Springfield, Mass./Cathedral) quickly settled into a groove. He struck out the side in both the second and fourth innings and fanned nine in the contest.
SVC struck again for a run in the fifth. Niko D'Agnese (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) got things started with a single to right and moved into scoring position on a ground out. Stacey then delivered a two-out RBI single past the first base bag to make it a 2-0 game.
Weldon hit more trouble in the top of the seventh as Joe Braim (Schuylerville, N.Y./Schuylerville CS) led off with a home run to left, the first of his collegiate career. The Mountaineers then bumped the lead to 5-0 on a two-run single by Mason.
Elms put three runs on the board in the bottom of the seventh to cut into the deficit. The Blazers got a baserunner courtesy of an SVC throwing error, and pinch hitter Josh Berthiaume (Pittsfield, Mass./Taconic) plated the run with a single to right-center. Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) later doubled into the gap in right-center to knock in two more runs as the SVC lead shrunk back to two.
Reliever Brian Langdon (Beacon Falls, Conn./Woodland Regional) got Elms out of a tight spot in the ninth to keep it close. The Blazers then brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the home half, but Angelo got the next two batters to ground out to end the game.
Angelo (7-2 overall) allowed three runs—none of which were earned—on five hits and struck out five in 9.0 innings. Weldon (10-1 overall) suffered his first loss of the season and yielded five runs on 10 hits in 7.0 innings of work.