NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Becker College baseball team dropped both games of a doubleheader against Mitchell College on Sunday afternoon, by final scores of 7-1 and 11-6 in New England Collegiate Conference play at Alumni Field.
The Mariners never trailed in the opener and got a complete-game performance from starting pitcher Axel De Jesus (Stratford, Conn./Stratford), who held the Hawks to only three hits. Mitchell fell behind 6-2 in the second game but put up nine unanswered runs to fuel the comeback.
Mitchell finished with four home runs on the day, including two from Jack Finnegan (Old Saybrook, Conn./Xavier) who went 5-for-7 with five RBI and four runs scored. Garet Griffin (Moosup, Conn./Plainfield) and Francis Prettitore (Bayville, N.Y./Locust Valley) also went yard for the Mariners on the day.
Mitchell (14-6 overall, 4-1 NECC) and Becker (9-8 overall, 4-3 NECC) will wrap up the series with a single game on Monday, April 3 at 4 p.m.
Mitchell went up 1-0 in the second inning when Griffin led off with a single and later scored on a throwing error. Becker pulled even in the third courtesy of a solo homer by Nick Harriman (Harrisville, R.I./Burrillville), his second of the spring.
The Mariners took a 4-1 lead in the fourth thanks to home runs from both Griffin and Finnegan. Griffin's was a one-out, solo shot to right that put Mitchell back in front, his team-leading third of the season. Finnegan later followed with a two-out, two-run blast down the right field line.
Becker threatened in the sixth, putting a runner in scoring position with no outs. However, a popped up bunt led to the first out of the frame, and then a fly ball to center turned into a double play as Tristan Hurley (Mystic, Conn./Fitch) gunned down the runner trying to advance to third.
Mitchell added three insurance runs in the home half of the sixth. Finnegan supplied a two-run single through the left side while Peter Abate (Wallingford, Conn./Sheehan) followed with a one-run single through the same spot.
De Jesus walked the leadoff hitter in the seventh—his only free pass of the game—before retiring the next three batters. He struck out three over 7.0 innings of work to improve to 3-3 on the year. Becker starter Tanyon Ventres (Holden, Mass./Wachusett Regional) went 5.1 innings and allowed seven runs (five earned) on seven hits.
Josiah Shepherd (Providence, R.I./Classical) led off the game with a solo homer to right—his first of the year—to put Becker on top 1-0. The Hawks then tacked on three runs in the second inning on RBI singles by Vaibhav Desai (Waltham, Mass./Waltham) and Daniel Diaz (Teaneck, N.J./St. Mary) and an RBI double by Shepherd.
In the bottom of the second, two Becker errors resulted in Mitchell's first two runs of the contest. However, the Hawks got the runs back in the third on a single by T.J. Sempkowski (Oceanport, N.J./Shore) and a sacrifice fly by Niko Bedell (Manorville, N.Y./Eastport-South Manor) to go up 6-2.
The Mariners sent 10 batters to the plate in the third and scored six runs to surge into the lead. A triple by Tyler Pina (Plainville, Conn./Plainville) scored a pair of runs, and an RBI single by Griffin tied the game at 6-6. Hurley's groundout plated the go-ahead run and Finnegan added a solo homer to cap the rally.
Mitchell added a run in the fourth on a solo homer by Prettitore and two more in the fifth courtesy of a passed ball and a wild pitch. Reliever Brian Stanczuk (Greenville, N.Y./Greenville Central) didn't need the extra run support as he allowed only one hit and struck out four to nail down a four-inning save.
Marcus Guadarrama (Newington, Conn./Newington) picked up the win in relief for the Mariners, improving to 1-0 on the season. Becker starter Tyler Wagar (Uxbridge, Mass./Uxbridge) allowed nine runs (seven earned) on 10 hits and struck out three over 4.0 innings.