Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Elms College baseball squad was dealt an 8-3 defeat at the hands of Rivier University at the 2017 Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic Monday afternoon. The Blazers drop to 0-6 on the season, while the Raiders improve to 2-1 overall.
After reaching on a fielder's choice, Elms senior Kyle Platner (Northfield, Mass.) touched home when a ball lifted by classmate Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) was misplayed in the outfield to give the Blazers a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
In the top of the third inning. Rivier grabbed control as senior Jacob Rayner (Billerica, Mass.) delivered an RBI sacrifice fly to even the score, followed by an RBI double from senior Drew Neely (Lakeland, Fla.) to push the Raiders ahead 2-1.
Elms tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning behind a two-out RBI single from junior Andy Vasquez (Queens, N.Y.), but Rivier regained the lead in the top of the sixth with Neely crossing home on a wild pitch. After an RBI single from junior Tyler Ferdinand (Middleboro, Mass.) gave Rivier a 4-2 lead, the Raiders erupted for four runs in the eighth, featuring a solo home run from sophomore David Pappalardo (Methuen, Mass.) and a three-run single from Rayner.
The Blazers added a final run in the bottom of the eighth with Platner scoring on an error as Elms fell to the Raiders, 8-3.
Elms freshman Kevin Banas (0-1; Hatfield, Mass.) was saddled with the loss in his collegiate debut, allowing three runs on nine hits with four strikeouts. Vasquez and senior Brian Hungerford (New Preston, Conn.) both went 2-for-3 at the plate with Hungerford knocking a triple and scoring a run.
Rivier sophomore Kyle Flanagan (1-0; Bradford, Mass.) earned the win, surrendering two runs, one earned, on five hits with a strikeout.
The Blazers will return to the diamond with a non-conference doubleheader against Saint John 's (Minn.) at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classis Wednesday afternoon. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 9:00 a.m.