Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. – The Elms College baseball team fell to host Newbury College during a pair of New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) games at the New England Baseball Complex Saturday afternoon. The Blazers slide to 5-11 on the season, and 1-3 in the NECC, while Newbury rises to 5-6 in league play and 16-10 overall.
Game 1: Newbury 3, Elms 1
The Nighthawks struck early in the opener, tacking two runs on the scoreboard in the first inning. After a single from Newbury junior Matthew Sobray (Santa Clarita, Calif.) and a pair of walks loaded the bases, the Nighthawks grabbed a 2-0 lead as senior Ian Hruniak (Lutz, Fla.) and junior Billy Stephen (Windermere, Fla.) drew bases loaded walks.
The Blazers chipped away at the deficit in the top of the second as senior Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) reached on error, and then moved to third base on a single from classmate Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.). Zima raced home on an RBI groundout from senior Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) to whittle the gap to 2-1.
Newbury delivered an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth with Hruniak knocking a two-out triple, and then scoring on a RBI single from Stephen to build a 3-1 lead for the Nighthawks. The Blazers had runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings, but failed to bring any runs home as the Nighthawks claimed the 3-1 victory.
Newbury senior Ethan Forrest (7-1, East Bridgewater, Mass.) held the Blazers to one run on two hits with three strikeouts in a complete game performance. Elms sophomore Thomas Owens (Enfield, Conn.) gave up three runs on six hits with six strikeouts in the loss.
Game 2: Newbury 4, Elms 3 (9 Innings)
The Nighthawks secured a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as freshman Justin Banks (Corona, Calif.) and Sobray knocked leadoff singles, followed by an RBI single from sophomore David Center (Medford, Mass.) to bring home Banks. Newbury added to their lead in the bottom of the third with another RBI single from Center, scoring Sobray from second base.
Newbury pushed their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth with leadoff singles from Hruniak and Stephen, followed by an RBI single from freshman Dante Serino (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.).
The Blazers worked at the deficit in the top of the sixth inning as sophomore Alex Hoss (Stafford Springs, Conn.) and senior Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) drew leadoff walks. Zima ripped an RBI single to bring home Hoss, and then Harrison lifted a sacrifice fly to centerfield, allowing Wadja to scamper home from third, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
Elms forced extra innings after evening the score at 3-3 in the top of the seventh. Gelzinis reached first on a hit by pitch and was lifted for a pinch runner in freshman Matt Fusco (). Fusco advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from senior Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn.), and then scored on an RBI single from senior Brian Hungerford (New Preston, Conn.) to send the game to extra innings.
The Blazers put runners in scoring position in the top of the eighth, but Stephen forced three straight outs from the mound to preserve the tie score. In the bottom of the ninth, Center drew a walk and stole second to move into scoring position. After navigating to third on a single from senior Brian Rhone (North Haven, Conn.), Center came home as the winning run on an RBI single from Hruniak to send the Nighthawks to the 4-3 win.
The squads will meet for the series finale at MacKenzie Stadium Sunday at Noon.