Baseball Edged 7-2, 6-5 in Eight by Newbury on Opening Day

zac cronk goes for a ball

BENNINGTON, Vt. – Southern Vermont College was finally able to play baseball on its home diamond Saturday, but the Mountaineers' Opening Day was spoiled as Newbury College took to a 7-2 victory in game one before taking a 6-5 come-from-behind win in an eight-inning New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) tilt at Bill Epstein Field.

The two sides are scheduled to complete the league series at SVC on Sunday with first pitch slated for 12 p.m.

Newbury improves to 11-17 overall and 5-8 in Conference play with the sweep while the Mountaineers fall to 5-12 on the year and 3-5 against the NECC.

GAME 1: Newbury 7 – Southern Vermont 2
The Nighthawks never trailed in the opener after putting up a pair of runs in the top of the first. They would lead 5-0 before Southern Vermont got on the board in the fifth, but NC allowed the Mountaineers to cross the dish just one more time the rest of the way while padding its cushion with a pair in the seventh.

SVC senior shortstop John Arancio (Oradell, N.J.) went 2-3 with a run scored as senior center fielder Zack Stacey (Saratoga, N.Y.) was 1-4 with another run.

Newbury junior left fielder David Center (Medford, Mass.) had a 3-3 showing with two runs scored and a third batted in, and sophomore third baseman Javi Martinez (Saugus, Mass.) and sophomore shortstop Justin Banks (Corona, Calif.) each had a pair of hits, an RBI, and a run scored in the win.

NC senior hurler Jim McGrorry (Oakhurst, N.J.) went all seven innings from the hill while striking out two and allowing just one earned run in the complete-game win (5-3). Southern Vermont senior counterpart Nick Hartman (East Hartland, Conn.) also went the distance—recording three strikeouts in the loss (3-3).

A couple of SVC miscues in the first made way for the two Nighthawks to score and put the visitors on top. Newbury then added a lone score in each of its next three turns to bat; Banks had an RBI single in the top of the third before Center doubled down the line in left in the fourth to make it a 5-0 difference.

Southern Vermont got on the board in the home half of the fourth when sophomore first baseman Jordan Banks (Bristol, Conn.) grounded out with a pair in scoring position. A McGrorry balk with runners at the corners in the sixth then awarded Arancio home plate as the Mountaineers cut it to 5-2.

That would be it for the SVC offense, however, and NC touched the dish twice more in the seventh for good measure; the first of those runs came when senior catcher Mitchell Walsh (Westport, Mass.) tagged a lead-off homer to right.

GAME 2: Newbury 6 – Southern Vermont 5 (8 inn.)
Southern Vermont never trailed in game two until the Nighthawks went on top in the extra inning. The Mountaineers led 5-0 at the end of the fourth before NC chipped away and eventually tied it up in the seventh—making way for the visitors to capture the series-clinching victory.

Arancio went 2-4 from the batter's box and scored a run on the base paths while junior catcher Dan Mason (Bloomingdale, N.J.) was 1-3 with a pair of runs batted in.

Martinez completed a solid afternoon by going 3-4 with an RBI and a run scored, and McGrorry—who moved to first base—went 2-4 while knocking in a run.

Newbury freshman Leo Frisella (Tewksbury, Mass.) went to the bump in the fifth and threw 2.2 innings to collect his first collegiate win (1-2). Junior Mark Travers (Norwood, Mass.) then came out of the pen in the eighth to finish off the game and take his first save of the year. SVC sophomore Rees Lesoine (Florence, Mont.) was hit with the loss (0-4) after tossing the eighth and giving up the game-winning run.

Southern Vermont tacked up two runs in the bottom of the first as Mason put an RBI single out to left-center before Arancio scampered home from third on a wild pitch. Mason then knocked a fly ball deep enough to center in the third for freshman designated hitter Will Iannacone (Winchendon, Mass.) to tag up and score for the 3-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the fourth, SVC scored two more to go up by a handful. However, the next frame is when Newbury got its bats going and started to trim the deficit. Center tallied a two-run double in the top of the fifth, and Martinez then homered to right-center to help NC tack up another pair in the sixth and cut it to a 5-4 Mountaineer edge.

The Nighthawks worked the tying run to third in the top of the seventh, and Walsh was able to poke a one-out fly to right for the visitors to even things at 5-5. Arancio dropped a one-out double inside the left field line in the home half of the frame, but he would be stranded at second as NC forced the extra box.

Martinez started the top of the eighth with a single to left, and he then found himself at second with two down. After McGrorry put runners at the corners with a single dropped in behind the first base bag, a wild pitch allowed Martinez to come in with—what proved to be—the winning run.