Baseball Takes Big Win Over Middlebury With 12-11 Nail Biter

dan mason claps his hands together

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Southern Vermont baseball team got back to action for the first time since March 31 on Tuesday as the Mountaineers picked up a big 12-11 non-conference victory over Middlebury College at Forbes Field.

Neither team could sustain the lead as it went back and forth until SVC tacked up a pair in the top of the eighth to go in front 12-10. The Panthers answered with one in the home half of the eighth, but they couldn't find the equalizer in the ninth as the Mountaineers took the road win.

Southern Vermont (5-10) heads north once again for its next game with the Mountaineers visiting Norwich University on Thursday for a 3:30 p.m. first pitch.

SVC senior shortstop John Arancio (Oradell, N.J.) went 2-5 with a walk, a home run, four RBIs, and three runs scored. Classmate third baseman Rob Spatafore (Mahopac, N.Y.) was 2-4 with a pair of runs batted in during the win.

Southern Vermont senior righty Nick Hartman (East Hartland, Conn.) tossed 1.1 innings of relief late in the game—being on the lineup card when the Mountaineers took the lead in the eighth to pick up the win and improve to 3-2 on the year. Freshman left-hander Dylan Ramirez (Orlando, Fla.) came out of the pen for the ninth and closed the game for his first collegiate save.

The Mountaineers jumped out to an early lead as they loaded the bases with the first three batters of the afternoon; Arancio came to the plate in the next at bat and cleared the pond with his fifth career home run and first collegiate grand slam. A squeeze play later in the inning then put SVC up 5-0 and in the driver's seat.

The lead would be short-lived as the Panthers used four run-scoring extra-base hits to chalk up seven in the home half of the box and pull ahead.

Down 8-7 going into the top of the seventh, Southern Vermont crossed the dish three times to regain the advantage. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Arancio was batted in on an infield single by freshman second baseman Zac Cronk (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.). A wild pitch and Middlebury fielding error then made way for the Mountaineers' other two runs to score and put the visitors in front by a pair.

Once again, however, Middlebury responded right away with the hosts tacking up a pair in the bottom of the seventh to tie it.

SVC would not be discouraged and kept the offense going in the eighth—manufacturing a couple of runs for another lead. With two outs and a pair on base, Spatafore knocked one up the middle for Arancio to round third and make it home. The Mountaineers then executed a double steal with runners at the corners for the eventual winning run to touch the plate.

A sacrifice fly to left-center made it just a one-run ballgame in the bottom of the eighth, and the 12-11 tally carried into Middlebury's final chance in the box. After a lead-off single was erased when Ramirez tossed over to get the Panther in a rundown, a two-out blast to center made for bated breaths from both sides. SVC junior Zack Stacey (Saratoga, N.Y.) made the turning sprint towards the wall, threw his glove over his head, and fell to the warning track while securing the catch. He let out a sigh of relief while revealing the caught ball to the umpires as the Mountaineers celebrated the victory.