Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
BOSTON, Mass. – The Elms College baseball team overcame a late rally from host Lesley University to record a 6-3 win, in 11 innings, in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) game at Bunker Hill Community College field Tuesday afternoon. The Blazers rise to 17-18 on the season, and 12-6 in conference action, while the Lynx slide to 9-9 in the NECC, and 18-16-1 overall.
The Blazers struck early, plating two runs in the top of the first inning. With one out, senior Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.) advanced to third on a single from classmate Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.), and then scored on an RBI single from senior Kyle Platner (Northfield, Mass.). Zima came around to score on an RBI single from senior Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) in the following at-bat to stake Elms to the 2-0 advantage.
The Lynx closed the gap to 2-1 in the home half of the second as freshman Matthew Warner (San Diego, Calif.) and junior Justin Clark (Chino Hills, Calif.) knocked leadoff singles, followed by Warner touching home on an RBI groundout from freshman Brendan Fairchild (Temecula, Calif.).
In the top of the seventh, the Blazers picked up an insurance run with Gelzinis bringing home senior Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) on an RBI single to right field to create a 3-1 scoreboard. The Lynx responded in the bottom of the frame as a single from sophomore Gage Reycroft (Fort Myers, Fla.) and a sacrifice bunt from Fairchild moved the tying runs into scoring position. Freshman Will Rhone (North Haven, Conn.) lifted a sac fly to centerfield, and then junior J.P. Agiorgousis (Hanscom AFB, Mass.) laced an RBI single to left field, evening the score at 3-3. The tied score remained intact through nine innings, sending the contest to extra innings.
In the top of the 11th inning, Harrison delivered a leadoff single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then moved to third as Zima knocked a sac fly into centerfield. Gelzinis plated Harrison with an RBI single, followed by an RBI single from senior Brian Hungerford (New Preston, Conn.). Senior Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn.) completed the Blazers three-run surge with a RBI flyout, pushing Elms to a 6-3 lead. Freshman Jaeden Rasmus (1-1; Bristol, Conn.) worked around a leadoff single by the Lynx to secure the 6-3 victory, and his first collegiate win on the hill.
Gelzinis led the Blazers at the plate, matching a career-high with four hits, while driving in three runs and scoring once. Wadja, Zima, Hungerford, and sophomore Alex Hoss (Stafford Springs, Conn.) each tallied two hits in the win. Elms senior starter Cody Lemieux (Torrington, Conn.) claimed a no-decision, allowing three runs, one earned, on five hits in seven innings of work.
Agiorgousis, Fairchild, and Rhone provided a hit and an RBI for the Lynx, while Warner, Reycroft, and senior Mike Slaby (Foxboro, Mass.) added a hit and run scored in the loss. Sophomore Daniel O'Donnell Jr. (0-1; Clark, N.J.) took the loss in relief, giving up three runs, none earned, on three hits.
With the win, the Blazers lock up the second-seed in the NECC Championship Tournament, and will face third-seed Becker College in their opening game of the tournament. Elms will close out the regular season with a non-conference tilt with Western New England Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Lesley travels to Framingham State for a non-conference game Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.