NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Becker College baseball team lost to top-seeded Mitchell College on Friday in the first round of the NECC Championships.
The NECC Baseball Championship continues on Saturday, May 5 with three games. Becker and Elms will face off in an elimination game at 9:30 a.m. while Mitchell and Lesley will meet in the winner's bracket at 12:30 p.m. The third game of the day is slated for a 3:30 p.m. start.
After scoring a run in the first inning on a wild pitch, Mitchell added three more in the second to go up 4-0. The bottom of the order loaded the bases with no outs, and Eric Marriott (Niagara Falls, Canada/A.N. Myer) was hit by a pitch to force in a run before Kyle Hartenstein (Meriden, Conn./Mahoney) plated two more with a single up the middle. The Mariners then tacked on another run in the third on an RBI single by Jeremy Santos (New London, Conn./New London) to go up by five.
Becker put runners on base in each of the first four innings but came away empty. The Hawks finally broke through for three runs in the fifth to close the gap. Josiah Shepherd (Providence, R.I./Classical) drew a two-out walk, stole second and then scored on a single up the middle by Tanyon Ventres (Holden, Mass./Wachusett Regional). Kevin Perez (Jersey City, N.J./Union City) followed with a two-run homer over the left-field fence—his first long ball of the season—to make it 5-3.
The Mariners threatened in the home half of the fifth, putting two runners on with no outs and chasing starting pitcher Daniel Diaz (Teaneck, N.J./St. Mary) from the game. Reliever Christopher Ladou (Worcester, Mass./Burncoat) got the Hawks out of the jam with an assist from Willis Pollard (Worthington, Mass./Gateway Regional), who made a diving grab in left field to save runs and end the inning.
Becker threatened again in the sixth as the first two batters reached base. This time it was Mitchell that benefitted from a defensive gem as Santos made a diving catch in left to keep runs off the scoreboard. Santiago then got a ground ball that resulted in an inning-ending double play to keep the score locked at 5-3.
With two outs in the seventh, a base hit by Santos ignited a Mitchell rally that led to a pair of insurance runs. The Mariners loaded the bases for Griffin, who sent a flare into right-center that scored both runs and extended the lead to 7-3.
Santiago retired the final 10 batters he faced to finish the game strong. He allowed three runs on nine hits over 9.0 innings and issued only one walk. Diaz (3-5 overall) surrendered five runs (four earned) on five hits and finished with five walks and four strikeouts in 4.0 innings of work.
Hartenstein became Mitchell's all-time leader in RBI in the contest. His two-run single in the second inning brought his career RBI total to 124.