CHICOPEE, Mass. – Kevin Banas fired the second no-hitter in program history as the Elms College baseball team swept a New England Collegiate Conference double-header against Southern Vermont on Tuesday. Elms won 6-0 to started the afternoon and closed out the sweep with a dramatic, 2-1 extra-innings win.
GAME 1 – Elms 6, SVC 0
On the eve of the nine-year anniversary of Matt Wood's no-hitter against Newbury (April 18, 2009), Banas (1-2) struck out six Mountaineers in the no-hit performance. He faced the minimum 21 batters after both SVC baserunners – one who reached on a second-inning walk and another on a fourth inning error -- were thrown out trying to steal second.
Banas helped his own cause offensively, going 2-for-3 at the plate with two doubles, a walk, an RBI and a stolen base. He led off the second inning with a double to left-center and scored after singles from Josh Pasini and Nathan Ayala. The Blazers scored twice more in the second off a Josh Keaton single to center to pull ahead 3-0.
Elms (9-18, 5-6 NECC) added another run in the third and two more in the fourth for the decisive 6-0 lead. The Blazers tallied six hits in the contest.
Dylan Ramirez pitched five innings and gave up six runs, including five earned, while striking out two and walking six in the loss for SVC (5-14, 3-7). David Payne recorded the final three outs for the Mountaineers, allowing just one walk.
GAME 2 – Elms 2, SVC 1 (8 Innings)
Blazer pitchers Matt Plasse and Thomas Owens combined for 10 strikeouts and Nathan Ayala capped a dramatic day with a walk-off RBI single into the gap in right-center as Elms completed the double-header sweep over SVC.
Plasse picked up six strikeouts but allowed five walks in 6.1 innings of work before giving way to Owens (3-3), who fanned four of the six batters he faced and picked up the win.
Ayala put the Blazers ahead 1-0 with a single to center in the second inning, and that's the way the score stayed until the top of the seventh. SVC took advantage of a couple Blazer miscues in the top of the seventh to extend the game. Cody Sullivan led off the inning with a walk and the Mountaineers quickly had runners on first and second with no outs after Rob Spatafore reached on an error. Two batters later, Nate Hickey tied the game with an RBI single to left field. After Plasse walked Luigi Magliocca, Owens came in to end the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
The game entered the bottom of the eighth still tied 1-1 when Banas drew a leadoff walk which chased SVC pitcher David Payne. Brandon Bennett moved Banas to second with a sac-bunt, and two batters later Ayala powered the game-winning hit into right-center. He finished the game 2-for-3 and drove in both Blazer runs. Alex Hoss went 3-for-4 in the game and Elms finished with eight hits in the game.
Hickey had two hits and an RBI for SVC as the Mountaineers finished with six hits. Rees LeSoine started the game and gave up just one run in 5.1 innings to keep SVC within striking distance. Payne (0-1) struck out three batters in 1.2 innings and took the loss.
The Blazers and Mountaineers will wrap up the three-game series with a single-game hosted by SVC on Thursday, April 19.