NEW LONDON, Conn. – Top-seeded Mitchell College scored six unanswered runs to post a 6-1 victory over fourth-seeded Eastern Nazarene College on Thursday afternoon in the 2019 New England Collegiate Conference Baseball Championship at Alumni Field.
Mitchell starter Ryan Solimine turned in 7.0 strong innings and allowed one run on five hits while striking out five. He improved to 9-1 on the season. Steve Cochrane led the offense with a 3-for-5 day at the plate and drove in three runs.
The Mariners (33-6 overall), who picked up their 19th straight win, will next face second-seeded New England College on Saturday, May 4 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Nazarene (20-18 overall) will face third-seeded Lesley University in an elimination game on Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
The visiting Lions couldn't have scripted a better start as Connor Simpson took the first offering from Solimine over the left-field fence for his second home run of the season. The 1-0 advantage didn't hold up for very long as Markus Melendez answered with a solo homer of his own—his first of the year—to tie things up in the bottom of the frame.
Solimine and ENC starter Briley Seiter each shook off the early long balls and kept the offenses off the scoreboard over the next three innings. Mitchell finally broke through in the fifth off reliever Brenndan Rogers, loading the bases with no outs behind a hit batter, bunt single and fielding error. Cochrane then delivered a three-run double to give the Mariners their first lead of the day. Two batters later he scored from third base on a ball put into play by Steven Pagan, sliding under the tag at home to make it a 5-1 game.
Mitchell added an insurance run in the seventh when Dougie DelaCruz led off with a double and later scored on a ground out by Sam Majewski. Reliever Bryce Bedard wouldn't need the extra support, as he picked up the final six outs of the game without allowing a run.
Rogers took the loss for ENC, surrendering four runs (two earned) on two hits in 1.0 inning of work. He dropped to 3-5 on the year.
Mitchell also broke the school record for most wins in a season, surpassing the mark set by the 2015 squad that finished 32-7.