Baseball’s Playoff Hopes Dashed by 6-4 Loss to Lesley on Senior Day

the team stands for the national anthem

BENNINGTON, Vt. – Southern Vermont College controlled its own destiny and had a chance to earn a spot in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) championship tournament, but the Mountaineers unfortunately fell 6-4 to Lesley University at Bill Epstein Field on Wednesday.

SVC maintained a 3-2 lead through most of the game before LU tied it with a lone run in the seventh. The Lynx then chalked up three more in the eighth, and Southern Vermont could only score once in the home half of the frame before going down in order in the ninth.

The Mountaineers conclude the 2018 campaign with an overall record of 9-20 and a 6-12 mark in league play. Lesley improves to 25-9 (14-4) and now looks ahead to the weekend's playoffs.

After the game, Southern Vermont recognized and honored its five senior members: John Arancio (Oradell, N.Y.), captain Niko D'Agnese (Mahopac, N.Y.), Nick Hartman (East Hartland, Conn.), captain Luigi Magliocca (Broadalbin, N.Y.), and Rob Spatafore (Mahopac, N.Y.).

SVC junior center fielder Zack Stacey (Saratoga, N.Y.) went 3-5 with two runs batted in while Spatafore was 2-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.

Hartman was tagged with the loss (3-6) after giving up the go-ahead run in his inning of relief. He took over for junior righty Joe Braim (Saratoga, N.Y.) who went the first seven and gave up three runs on six hits while striking out a season-high seven batters.

LU sophomore first baseman Matthew Warner (San Diego, Calif.) went 2-4 with a walk and a two-run homer while junior left fielder Leo DiGuilio (Bradley Beach, N.J.) was 1-2 with two walks, an RBI, and a run scored.

Lesley sophomore right-hander Pablo Casas (Cardiff, Calif.) picked up the win (2-1) after 1.2 innings out of the pen—striking out two in the process. Junior righty Daniel O'Donnell Jr. (Clark, N.J.) recorded his third save of the year as he had a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth on the bump.

Warner put the Lynx on top right away when he blasted a shot to left for the early upper hand. Back-to-back doubles by Spatafore and Stacey then plated three, however, for the Mountaineers to go in front by one. Braim settled in and allowed no more than one runner to reach in any of his five innings of work after the first.

The play of the day came in the top of the seventh when a lead-off pop up in foul territory had freshman second baseman Will Iannacone (Winchendon, Mass.) in a full sprint towards the fence; he fearlessly went crashing into it and managed to hang on to the ball for the out.

The Lynx were able to tie it up right after that, however, as DiGuilio got aboard with a chopper towards the mound and moved up on a sacrifice bunt. With two down, sophomore second baseman Will Rhone (North Haven, Conn.) singled into center; the ball died upon landing—making Stacey unable to make a play for home as DiGuilio touched third and crossed the plate.

LU added three more in the eighth to pull ahead. Two singles and a walk loaded the pond for the visitors, and two more bases on balls allowed—what ended up being—the winning run to touch the dish.

Southern Vermont answered with a solo run in the bottom of the box for the Mountaineers to get within two. With runners at first and second and two outs, Spatafore came through with an RBI single to center in what proved to be his final collegiate at bat. After LU stranded a runner at first in the ninth, however, O'Donnell Jr. struck out the leadoff hitter before inducing a pair of fly outs for the Lynx to close out the series sweep of SVC.