This release is courtesy of Mitchell Sports Information.
NEW LONDON, Conn. – Top-seeded Mitchell College and second-seeded New England College advanced to the title round of the 2019 New England Collegiate Conference Baseball Championship on Saturday.
The Pilgrims clipped the Mariners 5-0 in the second game of the day to earn the first spot in the finals. Mitchell then outlasted fourth-seeded Eastern Nazarene College by a 4-3 final to advance through the loser's bracket. Earlier in the day, ENC eliminated third-seeded Lesley University by a 14-5 final.
Mitchell (34-7 overall) will play in the title round for the seventh straight year and will need a pair of victories to claim the conference crown. NEC (24-15 overall), making its first finals appearance in its debut season in the league, needs only one win to earn the title. Due to inclement weather predicted for Sunday, the two teams will meet to decide the champion on Monday, May 6 at noon.
Lesley finished the season with an overall record of 12-25. Eastern Nazarene wrapped up the season at 21-19 overall.
Game 5 – Eastern Nazarene 14, Lesley 5
Lesley put up the game's first crooked number in the bottom of the third inning as Nicholas Ferragine and Javi Martinez each supplied RBI singles and Ryan Pumphret added a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
The margin didn't last for long as the Lions sent 12 batters to the plate in the fourth and pushed across seven runs to grab the lead for good. ENC loaded the bases and scored the first run on a line drive by Matthew Urena that clipped the pitching arm of Lesley starter Jonathan Truscott. Truscott stayed in the game, although he later allowed a three-run double to Anthony Esposito that gave the Lions their first lead. Steven Pesce then tacked on an RBI single to extend the margin to 7-3.
Lesley got a run back in the home half of the fourth on another RBI single by Ferragine, but it would be as close as they would get. ENC added two runs in the seventh on a homer by Joshua Bombard and five more in the eighth to seal the victory.
ENC finished with 18 hits in the game led by a 4-for-5 day by Zachary Carmody. Dylan Louviaux and Esposito added three hits and three RBI apiece.
Brandon Imonti pitched 5.2 innings of relief to earn the win for ENC, giving up one run on five hits to improve to 5-1. Truscott yielded seven runs on seven hits in the loss (2-7 overall).
Game 6 – New England College 5, Mitchell 0
NEC starter Nick Powers was the story of the second game as he silenced the Mitchell lineup with a three-hit shutout. He faced only two batters over the minimum and fanned two to improve to 6-1 on the season.
The Pilgrims got the only runs they would need on a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning by Evan Delaney. He cleared the fence in left field with a towering blast that went for his team-leading seventh long ball of the season.
Mitchell ran into trouble again in the third as NEC loaded the bases with only one out. The Mariners could have escaped the jam unscathed, but a dropped ball on a potential inning-ending double play allowed two runs to score. Xavier Nunez then tacked on an RBI single to put the Pilgrims up 5-0.
Powers took a no-hitter into the fifth before Steven Pagan dropped a single into center field to spoil the bid. The Pilgrims quickly erased the runner with a double play to end the frame.
Powers also surrendered hits in the eighth and ninth innings but didn't allow a runner past first base. He got a line drive to left to end the game, snapping Mitchell's 19-game winning streak in the process.
Despite allowing the early homer, Mitchell starter Roland Thivierge pitched 8.0 strong innings and allowed two earned runs on seven hits while striking out four. He dropped to 8-1 on the season.
Game 7 – Mitchell 4, Eastern Nazarene 3
Looking to stave off elimination for the second time on Saturday, the Lions took a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning and got within five outs of their goal. However, the Mariners rallied for two runs in the eighth to pull ahead, and reliever Bryce Bedard made sure the one-run lead held up.
Mitchell scored the first run of the contest on a ground ball by Sam Majewski in the second inning. ENC answered back with a run in the third to even the game on an RBI double by Carmody. The Pilgrims tried to score a second runner on the play, but Mitchell's relay to the plate was in plenty of time to cut down the attempt.
The Mariners went up 2-1 in the fifth on a nifty piece of hitting by Eric Marriot, who came to the plate with two runners in scoring position with two outs. After picking up a two-strike count, he poked an opposite-field single to plate one run and put Mitchell back in front.
Bombard provided a two-run double in the sixth that vaulted the Lions into the lead once again. In the seventh, the Mariners had the tying run on third with two outs, but Morgan Weast came out of the ENC bullpen to end the threat.
Dougie DelaCruz singled to lead off the Mitchell eighth. He moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, and then pinch runner Nick Morrell scored the tying run on a line drive down the left-field line by Peter Abate. After a steal by Abate put the go-ahead run at second, Jeremy Santos delivered an RBI single through the right side to give Mitchell a 4-3 edge.
Bedard, who came into the game in the sixth, made the margin stand over the final two innings. ENC put the tying run on second with one out in the eighth, but Bedard got a pair of fly balls to keep the lead intact. In the ninth he struck out two batters before getting a ground ball to third to end the game.
Bedard (4-2 overall) allowed only two hits over 3.2 scoreless innings to claim the win. Starter Jakari Pellegrini surrendered three runs on seven hits over 5.1 innings.
ENC starter Brenndan Rogers went 5.2 innings and allowed two runs on six hits while striking out four. Daniel Rivera took the loss, yielding one run on two hits in 0.2 innings.