HOLYOKE, Mass. – Southern Vermont College clung to an early lead through the final out of a 5-3 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) baseball win over Elms College at Mackenzie Stadium Friday evening.
The Mountaineers scored five runs through two innings in the front-end of the series finale and maintained the 5-1 advantage going into the top of the seventh. EC, which batted as the away team, could only score twice the rest of the way as the Blazers were held to just an infield single in their final two trips to the plate.
SVC (6-15, 4-7 NECC) is back on the road Saturday as the Mountaineers visit Becker College for the first two games of their weekend series with the Hawks; first pitch of that doubleheader is slated for 12 p.m.
Southern Vermont freshman designated hitter Will Iannacone (Winchendon, Mass.) went 2-3 with a stolen base and three RBIs while junior catcher Dan Mason (Bloomingdale, N.J.) was 2-5 with a run scored and another batted in.
Junior righty Joe Braim (Saratoga, N.Y.) tossed a strong eight innings from the bump as he allowed just two earned runs and struck out a pair in the win (2-2). Sophomore right-hander Rees Lesoine (Florence, Mont.) came in for the ninth and retired Elms in order to pick up his first career save.
Elms senior shortstop Ben Ross (Thompson, Conn.) and sophomore third baseman Josh Pasini (Enfield, Conn.) were both 2-4 for the Blazers. Sophomore lefty Brandon Bennett (Easthampton, Mass.) went the first 2.2 innings on the hill and fanned three in the loss (1-6).
EC struck first when a throwing error in the top of the second allowed the lead Blazer to touch third and head for home. That would be Elms' only advantage of the day, however, as SVC came back to go on top in the third.
A plunked batter with the pond full of ducks allowed the first Mountaineer run to cross the dish, and Iannacone then launched a fly ball deep enough to the outfield for junior center fielder Zack Stacey (Saratoga, N.Y.) to tag up and score the go-ahead run.
Southern Vermont extended the separation in the next inning as Mason raked a two-out, run-scoring single to center before Iannacone drove one back up the middle to plate a pair.
Elms started to garner some momentum in the seventh and threatened to regain the lead. EC loaded the bases, and the next batter took a pitch to the body for senior right fielder Andy Vasquez (Queens, N.Y.) to score. Braim then induced a huge double play, however, as the Blazers tacked up their second run of the inning. The Mountaineers were able to get back in the dugout when sophomore left fielder Nate Hickey (Bristol, Conn.) tracked a deep foul ball near the fence and made the shoestring catch to end EC's at bat.
After the hosts stranded a runner at first in the top of the eighth, Lesoine got them to go down 1-2-3 in the ninth to wrap it up and prevent Elms from taking the series sweep.
– #LetsGoSVC –