Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
HOLYOKE, Mass. – The Elms College baseball squad used a pair of three-run innings to defeat visiting Mitchell College, 7-2, in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) battle at MacKenzie Stadium Thursday night. With the win, Elms improves to 7-13 on the season, and 3-3 in the NECC, while Mitchell dips to 6-2 in conference play and 17-8 overall.
The Blazers jumped on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning as senior Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) drew a leadoff walk, followed by a double from senior Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.) into the left field corner to put runners in scoring position. With one out, senior Kyle Platner (Northfield, Mass.) laced an RBI single through the right side of the infield, bring home Wadja and hand Elms a 1-0 lead.
Leading 1-0 in the fourth inning, the Blazer created separation, loading the bases with no outs behind singles from seniors Jordan Zima (Berlin, Conn.) and Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.). With the sacks full, senior Brian Hungerford (New Preston, Conn) laced a two-run triple to the right field fence, bringing home Zima and Platner, while Gelzinis was thrown out at home on the relay, to push Elms ahead 3-0. Hungerford trotted home on a RBI single from senior Dan Brunetti (Enfield, Conn.) to hand the Blazers a 4-0 advantage.
The Mariners cracked the scoreboard in the fifth inning with a pair of runs on an RBI single from senior Stephen Gonzalez (Union City, N.J.) and a sacrifice fly from junior Kyle Hartenstein (Meriden, Conn.) to cut the Elms lead in half, 4-2. In the bottom of the seventh, the Blazers added a trio of insurance runs as Harrison clubbed a two-run triple into the right-centerfield gap, followed by an RBI groundout from Zima to bring home Harrison and expand the Blazers gap to 7-2.
The Blazers bats cranked out 11 hits, featuring two-hit games for Harrison, Platner, Hungerford and Brunetti. Harrison and Hungerford each drove in two runs, while Wadja scored twice in the win. Elms sophomore Matt Plasse (3-1; Westfield, Mass.) was solid on the mound to collect the victory, allowing two runs, one earned, on seven hits with a season-high nine strikeouts. Gelzinis and freshman Kevin Banas (Hatfield, Mass.) delivered scoreless innings of relief.
Mitchell junior Jack Finnegan (Old Saybrook, Conn.) and sophomore Markus Melendez (Storrs, Conn.) tallied two hits apiece, while Finnegan and freshman Brody Adams (Canterbury, Conn.) scored the lone runs for the Mariners. Mitchell senior Alex De Jesus (3-3; Stratford, Conn.) took the loss, surrendering five runs on seven hits with four strikeouts.
The Blazers and Mariners will be back on the diamond for a conference doubleheader at Alumni Field Saturday afternoon. First pitch of game one is slated for 12:00 p.m.