Ayala's 10th-Inning Walk-Off Caps Wild Senior Day Comeback Win In Split Against Mitchell

Ayala's 10th-Inning Walk-Off Caps Wild Senior Day Comeback Win In Split Against Mitchell

Holyoke, Mass. – It was a Senior Day to remember for Ben Ross and Andy Vasquez, who both came up huge for the Elms College baseball team in a wild 10-inning comeback win to cap a double-header against Mitchell at Mackenzie Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Elms erased a 4-0 deficit in the bottom of the seventh and eventually stole a 5-4 win in game two after falling 4-1 in 10 innings in game one.

The Blazers (12-23, 8-9 New England Collegiate Conference) wrap up the regular season with the series finale at Mitchell (25-8, 13-3 NECC) on Sunday.

GAME 1 – Mitchell 4, Elms 1 (10 Innings)
Thomas Owens (Enfield, Conn.) pitched a gem, piling up 10 strikeouts and allowing only one run in eight innings, but left with no decision. Mitchell eventually picked up a 4-1, 10-inning victory after Peter Abate (Wallingford, Conn.) belted a three-run homer to left field in the top of the 10th to push the Mariners to victory in game one of Saturday's double-header.

The Mariners got on the board with an unearned run in the second inning when Abate reached on an error allowing James Rangel (North Bergen, N.J.). Owens got out of the inning when Abate was thrown out trying to steal second.

Elms tied the game in the very next at-bat, as Kevin Banas (Hatfield, Mass.) led off the bottom of the second with a homer to left field. That was the last run before Abate's blast in the 10th.

Drew Daley (Brooklyn, Conn.) got the start and went 5.2 innings for Mitchell, allowing one earned run and picking up two strikeouts. Brian Ricker (Rocky Point, N.Y.) (2-1) pitched the ninth and 10th innings for Mitchell and got the win while allowing just one hit. Cody Fisher (South Windsor, Conn.) (2-4) pitched the ninth and 10th innings for Elms and was tagged with the loss.

GAME 2 – Elms 5, Mitchell 4 (10 Innings)
The Blazers were heading towards their second loss of the day when they entered the bottom of the seventh trailing 4-0 in game two before the tides turned in a hurry.

Thomas Slane (Tolland, Conn.) and Banas led off the inning with a single and a double, respectively, to put runners on second and third with no outs. Nate Ayala (Springfield, Mass.) and Josh Pasini (Enfield, Conn.) followed with back-to-back RBI sac flies to make it 4-2 in favor of the Mariners with two outs and nobody on base. Vasquez (Queens, N.Y.) kept the Blazers alive with a two-out single to right field, and back-to-back walks to pinch-hitters Josh Berthiaume (Pittsfield, Mass.) and Patrick Hughes (Naugatuck, Conn.) loaded the bases with two outs. That brought up Ross (Thompson, Conn.), who blasted a two-run single to center field to tie the game and force extra innings.

Matt Plasse (Westfield, Mass.) came on to pitch in the eighth inning and was lights-out. He allowed just one hit in three innings of work while striking out for to keep the Blazers afloat into the 10th inning. Alex Hoss led off the 10th with a single and advanced to second when Slane executed a bunt. Mitchell elected to intentionally walk Banas, who homered earlier in the day, a decision that proved to be a fatal mistake. Ayala came to the plate and delivered his third walk-off hit in 11 days, a shot to the gap in left-center that scored Hoss from second. Ayala was 3-for-4 in the game with two RBIs.

Plasse (2-4) picked up the win for Elms while Ricker (2-2) got the loss after facing the final seven Blazer batters.