NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. – The Southern Vermont College bats opened up Monday morning while its starting pitcher went a strong nine innings for the Mountaineers to down Newbury College 12-1 at the New England Baseball Complex to win their New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) baseball series with the Nighthawks.
Mountaineer senior designated hitter Anthony Mercuri (Ridge, N.Y.) had a monster day, going 3-4 with two home runs and a double—chalking up eight runs batted in and three runs scored. His RBI total is a new program record and was more than SVC had charted as a team in any previous game this year; it also fell just one shy of the most by any Division III player this season.
The visitors grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first before padding that with a five-spot in the third. They added two more in the fourth, and NC finally got on the board with a lone run in the seventh. Southern Vermont answered with four runs in the eighth—putting it out of reach for the Nighthawks.
Southern Vermont improves to 4-11 on the year and 2-1 in league action with the win. The Mountaineers are scheduled to next host Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts on Tuesday with a 3:30 p.m. Opening Day first pitch at Bill Epstein Field.
SVC tallied 16 hits on the day with six of those being for extra bases—three of which cleared the fence.
Mountaineer sophomore catcher Dan Mason (Bloomingdale, N.Y.) was 2-4 at the dish with three runs scored, a walk and an RBI as he notched his first home run of the year, and freshman left fielder Anthony LaBella (Exeter, N.H.) went 2-4 with a double, a run batted in and another run scored. Freshman Noah DuBois (Barrington, N.H.), sophomore first baseman Cody Sullivan (Schuylerville, N.Y.), and junior right fielder Niko D'Agnese (Mahopac, N.Y.) all registered multi-hit games as well.
Southern Vermont senior right-hander Joshua Hay (South Glens Falls, N.Y.) tossed a stellar game with the start—going all nine innings while allowing only one run on five hits and three walks. He came just one strikeout shy of his career-high by getting into double digits with 10 on the day. Monday was just the second time Hay has gone nine innings on the mound as a Mountaineer and the first since his freshman season in 2014.
SVC sophomore center fielder Zack Stacey (Saratoga, N.Y.) started a game with a leadoff hit for the ninth time this year as he extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He would be erased trying to steal second, however, for the pond to be cleared for Mason. The Mountaineer catcher got all of one and sent it out of the park—his first home run of the year and second of his career giving the visitors the quick 1-0 upper hand.
Hay got Newbury to strand a pair of runners aboard in the bottom of the first before preventing a leadoff single in the second from getting past first base. Southern Vermont then struck big with five runs on four hits in the third. After Mason walked to start the frame, DuBois tagged a double to right-center for the Mountaineers to get a pair in scoring position.
Mercuri followed with a double to left field to score both of his teammates and make it a 3-0 ballgame. He would later score on a wild pitch, and LaBella then ripped a run-scoring single through the left side of the infield. D'Agnese brought LaBella home with a double to left—putting his team on top 6-0.
Hay faced just nine batters through the next three frames as he retired the Newbury side in order in both the third and fifth while his middle infield turned an inning-ending double play in the fourth. Meanwhile, Mercuri cranked his second dinger in as many days in the fourth after DuBois tallied a one-out single for SVC to garner a little more separation.
NC got a leadoff double to left to start the sixth, but Hay kept the runner at second by retiring the next three batters with the last two going down looking. The Nighthawks began the seventh the same way, however, and made it hurt to finally get on the board.
Southern Vermont answered with four runs on two hits in the top of the eighth—all of the action coming with two outs. Stacey walked to get things started before Mason singled up the middle. A DuBois walk loaded the pond, and Mercuri then smacked his second long ball of the day for the grand slam and his fourth career home run.
Hay put away the Nighthawk side in order in the bottom of the eighth before SVC stranded a pair in the ninth. NC got a one-out single to right in a last-ditch attempt to get back in it, but the Mountaineer senior registered his 10th strikeout of the day before getting a grounder down to first to finish off the game and give Southern Vermont the crucial series victory.
– #LetsGoSVC –