NEW LONDON, Conn. – Top-seeded Mitchell College erased a six-run deficit to win its third straight New England Collegiate Conference Baseball Championship on Sunday, defeating third-seeded Southern Vermont College by a final score of 14-8 at Alumni Field.
The Mariners (27-9 overall) entered the title round needing only one win to keep the traveling trophy at Mitchell. Southern Vermont did its best early on to prevent that from happening, putting six runs up on the board in the second inning. However, Mitchell rallied to score 11 runs over the next three frames to seize control. The Mariners went ahead for good with a three-run fifth inning and added three insurance runs in the eighth to slam the door.
Kyle Hartenstein went 3-for-6 with three RBI to lead a balanced offensive attack for the Mariners. Tyler Pina, Francis Prettitore and Chandler Whitney each finished with a pair of hits in the game and earned spots on the NECC All-Tournament Team. Pina, who batted .563 with two doubles, one homer, eight runs scored and six RBI over three games, was named the tournament's most valuable player.
Southern Vermont's Zack Stacey, Dylan Angelo and RJ Pingitore were also selected to the all-tournament team. Stacey went 2-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI in the title game to cap a strong tournament. Over five games he hit .632 with two doubles, four homers, nine runs scored and 11 RBI. Rounding out the all-tournament team were Andrew Sadowski and Stephen Harrison from Elms College and Ryan Pumphret and Tom Muratore from Lesley University.
A Mitchell fielding error proved costly in the second inning. Starting pitcher Clayton Shaw could have been out of the frame without yielding a run, but instead the miscue loaded the bases with two outs. SVC cashed in as Cody Sullivan drew a walk to force in the first run of the game, and Stacey cleared the bases with his first home run of the day—a grand slam over the left field fence—to make it 5-0. The Mountaineers tacked on a final run off another Mitchell error to pad the lead to six.
Mitchell cut the deficit in half in the third but left the bases loaded. Steven Pagan and Markus Melendez set the table with back-to-back singles, and Tristan Hurley, Hartenstein and Jack Finnegan all plated runs. With the Mariners threatening for more, SVC reliever Ryan Richards came into the game and retired the next two batter to keep it a 6-3 game.
The Mountaineers got a run back in the fourth on a solo homer by Stacey, his fourth in a two-day span. However, the four-run lead didn't last for long as the Mariners plated five runs in the home half to grab their first lead. Hartenstein provided a two-run double while Whitney put Mitchell in front with a two-run single through the right side of the infield.
SVC's Anthony Mercuri tied the game with a solo homer in the top of the fifth. Mitchell responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame as Pina and Prettitore each delivered RBI singles and Garet Griffin added an RBI double to make it 11-8.
Reliever Marcus Guadarrama came out to start the sixth inning but yielded a leadoff single before Mitchell went back to the bullpen in favor of Eddie Santiago. The sophomore left-hander shut down the Mountaineers for the rest of the game, striking out six over 4.0 hitless innings to record the save. Guadarrama picked up the win, allowing two runs on three hits in 3.1 innings of work.
Southern Vermont wrapped the season with a 20-20 overall record, setting the program record for wins in a season.
The Mariners won the fifth NECC title in school history (2015, 2014, 2011, 2010). Mitchell also secured the NECC's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship and will make its fourth appearance in the tournament (2015, 2014, 2011). The NCAA bracket is scheduled to be released on the morning of May 16 on NCAA.com.
2016 NECC All-Tournament Team
Tyler Pina, Mitchell (MVP)
Francis Prettitore, Mitchell
Chandler Whitney, Mitchell
Zack Stacey, Southern Vermont
Dylan Angelo, Southern Vermont
RJ Pingitore, Southern Vermont
Andrew Sadowski, Elms College
Stephen Harrison, Elms College
Ryan Pumphret, Lesley University
Tom Muratore, Lesley University
Champs Again! Baseball Claims Third Straight NECC Title
May 01, 2016