NEW LONDON, Conn. - The third-seed Elms College baseball team had their 2017 campaign come to a close with a pair of defeats at the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship tournament at Alumni Field Sunday afternoon. The Blazers were edged out by Lesley, 3-2, and then fell to host Mitchell, 9-4, in the final elimination game.
Game 4: Lesley 3, Elms 2
Lesley built a 3-0 lead after five innings and made the margin stand with strong pitching and clutch defense. The Blazers—who outhit the Lynx 13-7 but left 16 runners on base—had chances to tie the game in the final three innings but were denied each time.
An RBI single by Jacob Cervantes (Oxnard, Calif./Ventura) put the Lynx on the board in the second inning. Lesley padded the lead with a pair of runs in the fifth, the first coming on a single through the left side by Vincent Taliercio (Valley Stream, N.Y./Chaminade) and the second on a double to right field by Steven DePalma (Albertson, N.Y./Mineola).
Lesley starter Nick Iadevaio (Mineola, N.Y./Mineola) kept the Blazers scoreless through six. Elms finally broke through in the top of the seventh as Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn./Lyman Memorial) led off with a single and Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) followed with a home run to right field to cut the deficit to 3-2. The Blazers threatened to score the tying run later in the frame, but shortstop Nicholas Ferragine (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) fielded a grounder and cut down the runner at the plate.
Elms had the tying run at second with one out in the eighth but came away empty as reliever J.P. Agiorgousis (Hanscom AFB, Mass./Bedford) got out of the jam with a fly ball and a strikeout. The Blazers then loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth against Tom Muratore (Mamaroneck, N.Y./Mamaroneck), who got the final batter to foul out to end the game.
Iadevaio (5-4 overall) gave up two runs on 10 hits and struck out three over 6.0 innings. Nick DeGrenier (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield), Agiorgousis and Muratore each threw 1.0 inning of scoreless relief. Muratore, the winning pitcher in Lesley's first game of the tournament, picked up his second save of the season.
Elms starter Matt Plasse (Westfield, Mass./St. Mary's) gave up three runs on six hits over 6.0 innings and fanned five. He dropped to 5-3 on the season. Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth) went 4-for-5 at the plate to lead the Elms offense.
Game 5: Mitchell 9, Elms 4
The Mariners scored three runs in the bottom of the first to take an early lead and never looked back. Mitchell later extended the margin to 5-0 in the fifth and scored a pair of runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to seal the victory.
Starting pitcher Bryton Ferris (Manchester, Conn./Manchester) scattered nine hits over 5.1 innings and allowed only one run while striking out three. Brian Ricker (Rocky Point, N.Y./Rocky Point) brought the Mariners home with 3.2 innings of relief to earn the save, allowing three runs (one earned) on two hits.
RBI singles by Prettitore, Pina and Tristan Hurley (Mystic, Conn./Fitch) got the Mariners off to a fast start in the first. Pina then drilled a two-run homer—his second of the day—to put Mitchell on top 5-0 in the fifth.
Elms put the leadoff man on base in five of the first six innings but didn't capitalize until the sixth. Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn./Enrico Fermi) and Alex Hoss (Stafford Springs, Conn./Stafford) set the table with back-to-back bunt singles, and Brian Hungerford (New Preston, Conn./Shepaug Valley) knocked in a run with a single to left-center. The Blazers then loaded the bases with only one out before Mitchell turned to Ricker out of the bullpen. He retired the next two Elms batters to keep the 5-1 lead intact.
Mitchell shot back with a pair of runs in the home half of the sixth to go up 7-1. After an RBI single by Hoss yielded a run for the Blazers in the seventh, the Mariners responded with two more runs on a two-out, two-run triple by Jack Finnegan (Old Saybrook, Conn./Xavier). Elms (18-20 overall) picked up its final two runs in the eighth before going down in order in the ninth.
Pina went 2-for-3 with three RBI to fuel the Mitchell offense. Hoss finished with three hits to lead the Blazers.
Elms starter Kyle Platner (Northfield, Mass./Pioneer Valley Regional) gave up three runs on four hits in 3.0 innings of work.
Source: (Mitchell College Athletics)