MANSFIELD, Conn. – Against a team ranked No. 10 nationally in hitting, junior righty Jared Buckley (Oxford, MA) pitched into the seventh inning in his second career start and Eastern Connecticut State University wiped out a three-run deficit with two runs in the eighth and senior second baseman William Coleman's (Northford) two-out, two-run game-ending double in the ninth in a 4-3 win over New England College Thursday evening at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
Freshman catcher Matt Malcom (East Lyme) hit his third home run of the year in the eighth to pull Eastern (8-6) to within 3-2, and Coleman stroked a 2-1 delivery from reliever Jeam Castillo through the outfield gap to send home sophomore rightfielder Luke Broadhurst (Stafford) from second and Malcom from first to end the game. Malcom had kept Eastern's hopes alive with two outs when he legged out a slow roller to the right side to establish himself as the winning run.
Buckley allowed only three hits and left a scoreless game with runners on first and third in the seventh inning, but New England (11-5) broke through with a base-s loaded walk. The Pilgrims made it 3-0 in the eighth on No. 3 hitter Connor Morin's (.548 batting average) two-out, two-strike, two-run opposite-field double into the left field corner.
Shayne Audet dominated the Warriors through seven innings and was lifted with the Pilgrims leading, 1-0, Audet threw 127 pitches, 76 for strikes, allowing sophomore only DH Eric Jaillet's (Ivoryton) single to center leading off the third. Audet fanned nine and walked five, hit two batters and threw two wild pitches.
Sophomore transfer Zach Player (East Hampton) was credited with his first win at Eastern, striking out on and walking one after being summoned as the fourth of four Eastern pitchers with two out and Morin on second after his two-run double. Player walked a batter but ended the threat with a fly ball to center, then retired the Pilgrims in order in the top of the ninth prior to Eastern's game-winning rally.
At left: Jared Buckley
Malcom and Coleman each had two of Eastern's six hits, while senior centerfielder and senior leadoff hitter Alexander White (West Hartford) walked two and junior leftfielder John Mesagno (Tappan, NY) reached twice on hit-by-pitch.