Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
WORCESTER, Mass. – The Elms College baseball team gave up a late comeback to host Clark University in a 9-6 non-conference loss at Granger Field Saturday afternoon. The Blazers open the season with an 0-1 mark, while the Cougars start with 1-0 record.
After two scoreless innings, the Cougars broke the scoreless contest in the bottom of the third as senior Adam Chochrek (Foxboro, Mass.) lifted a two-run home run over the left field wall to stake Clark to a 2-0 lead. The Blazers answered in the top of the fourth with senior Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.) ripped a leadoff double, and then classmate Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) drew a walk, setting the scene for a base-clearing triple from senior Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) to even the score at 2-2.
Clark added a run in the fourth and fifth inning behind an RBI double from freshman Nick Jordan (Seaford, N.Y.) and an RBI fielder's choice by freshman Andrew Thibault (Nashua, N.H.) to gain a 4-2 advantage after five innings.
The Blazers offense kicked in to gear in the top of the sixth as senior Kyle Platner (Northfield, Mass.) laced a double to left field, and then came around to score on an RBI single from Gelzinis. With runners on second and third, junior Andy Vasquez (Bronx, N.Y.) delivered an RBI single to right field, and scored on a fielder's choice from junior Ben Ross (Thompson, Conn.) to put the Blazers ahead 5-4. Elms added a final run in the frame as sophomore Alex Hoss (Stafford Springs, Conn.) crossed home plate on a Cougars fielding error to hand Elms the 6-4 advantage.
Clark began to chip away at the Blazers lead with a double steal in the bottom of the sixth, allowing Jordan to touch home. The Cougars regained control in the seventh behind an RBI singles from Jordan and graduate Chris Dibble (Manchester, Conn.) to hold a 7-6 lead. Clark added insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth on RBI singles from Thibault and freshman Jackson Posnik (Wellesley, Mass.) to send the Cougars to the 9-6 victory.
Gelzinis led the Blazers at the dish going 3-for-4 day with three RBIs. Platner and Harrison each added two hits apiece, and Vasquez tallied an RBI. Sophomore Thomas Owens (Enfield, Conn.) started on the hill for Elms, allowing two runs on two hits with six strikeouts in three innings of work, while freshman Thomas Slane (0-1; Tolland, Conn.) took the loss in relief.
The Cougars were paced by Jordan, who was 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Chochrek and Posnik knocked two hits each, while Chochrek drove in two runs. Thibault added two RBIs while sophomore Cal Slepkow (Rehoboth, Mass.) collected a no-decision in his first start of the season, allowing six runs, four earned, on seven hits with two strikeouts. Junior Connor Walsh (1-0, Marstons Mills, Mass.) recorded the win in relief, and junior Joshua Dobratz (Southington, Conn.) logged his first save of the season.
The Blazers will be back in action when they travel south for the 2017 Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic in Fort Myers, Florida from March 4-9.