LEICESTER, Mass. --- The Becker College baseball team lost 11-9 to visiting Mitchell College on Tuesday afternoon in New England Collegiate Conference action at Rochdale Park in Leicester. The Mariners of Mitchell, the top-seeded team in the conference, improve to 27-8 and 15-3 in NECC play while the Hawks of Becker fall to 10-26 and 7-11 against conference opponents.
Becker's bats were hot from the get go, as freshman right fielder William Negron (Bronx, N.Y. / Salesian), last week's NECC Rookie of the Week, came to the plate with two men on and promptly cleared the bases with a double to right, giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead. On the very next at-bat, senior first baseman Kevin Perez (Jersey City, N.J. / Union City) singled to score Negron, increasing the lead to three. Freshman catcher Cameron Plank (Marlborough, Mass. / Marlborough) then doubled in Perez, as the home team went up 4-0 after one inning.
In the bottom of the second, the Hawks scored again when freshman second baseman Coby Hussey (Claremont, N.H. / Stevens) hit an RBI groundout to drive in fellow rookie Willis Pollard (Worthington, Mass. / Gateway Regional) from third. Junior designated hitter Tanyon Ventres (Holden, Mass. / Wachusett Regional) hit a sacrifice fly to bring home senior centerfielder Josiah Shepherd (Providence, R.I. / Classical). Becker took a commanding 6-0 lead.
The Mariners rallied in the top of the third, beginning with a two-run home run to right from Mitchell senior shortstop Garet Griffin (Moosup, Conn./Plainfield). Four batters later, junior designated hitter Peter Abate (Wallingford, Conn. / Sheehan) came to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a sac fly, scoring senior first baseman James Rangel (North Bergen, N.J./North Bergen) from third. Two batters later with the bases again juiced, sophomore left fielder Jeremy Santos (New London, Conn./New London) drove in two more runs off an RBI single up the middle. The Hawks finally got out of the inning, now clinging to a 6-5 advantage.
In the bottom of the third, Negron scored off an RBI groundout from sophomore shortstop Ben Mazzone (Bristol, Conn. / St. Paul Catholic) to give Becker some breathing room at 7-5.
Mitchell got the run back in the top of the fourth when senior second baseman Kyle Hartenstein (Meriden, Conn. / Maloney) led off with a solo shot to right, pulling the Mariners to within one again at 7-6.
Then in the top of the fifth, the visitors finally tied the game off an RBI fielder's choice from junior centerfielder Eric Marriott (Niagara Falls, Canada/A.N. Myer) to score Abate, knotting it at 7-7.
The Mariners surged ahead in the top of the sixth inning when senior right fielder Jack Finnegan (Old Saybrook, Conn. / Xavier) came to the plate with runners at the corners and doubled to right-center to bring home Griffin for Mitchell's first lead of the game. The very next at bat Abate hit a sacrifice fly to left to bring home Rangel, putting the visitors ahead 9-7.
In the top of the eighth, Abate had an RBI single to drive home Finnegan, giving the Mariners a three-run lead.
The Hawks rallied in the bottom of the eighth, when sophomore designated hitter Michael Bianco (Manorville, N.Y. / Eastport-South Manor) came to the plate with two outs and crushed an RBI triple to center, scoring Shepherd from first. The very next at bat, a muffed catch at first allowed Bianco to score, pulling Becker to within one at 10-9.
Mitchell kept coming in the top of the ninth, when Griffin grounded out to the mound but Hartenstein, coming from third, scored when he beat the throw on a play at the plate. The Mariners took a two run lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Becker came out swinging but Mitchell freshman pitcher Roland Thivierge (Portland, Conn./Portland) was up to the challenge, retiring the side in order for his second career save for the Mariners.
Mitchell junior pitcher Bryce Bedard (Ledyard, Conn./Norwich Tech) earned the win for the visitors, striking out three in two and one third an inning and running his record to 5-0 for the season. Becker sophomore Eric Trahan (Bristol, Conn. / Bristol Eastern) took the loss.
Shepherd went two-for-three with two walks out of the leadoff spot.
Both teams await their official pairings in the upcoming NECC Championship Tournament.
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