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Cootware goes deep, but Lynx drop home openers to Elms

Cootware goes deep, but Lynx drop home openers to Elms

SOMERVILLE, MA – Elms College (4-8, 2-0 NECC) earned a doubleheader sweep over Lesley University (1-8, 0-2 NECC), winning 7-5 and 14-9 Monday night in both teams' New England Collegiate Conference baseball openers.

            Elms' Anthony Pagano (Cranston, RI/West) went 2-for-4 with a triple and a homer in the opener and 3-for-5 with three runs in the nightcap as the visitors took two from the Lynx. Lesley's Andrew Cootware (Colchester, VT/Colchester) hit the program's first-ever home run in the nightcap.

            In Game 1, after an RBI groundout from Pagano gave the visitors a brief lead, Peter Plansky (Litchfield, NH/Campbell) put the Lynx on top 3-1 with a two-run single to center that scored Aqib Shah (Watertown, MA/Watertown) and NECC Rookie of the Week Tyler Plourd (Canton, CT/Canton).

            The Blazers responded with one run in the fourth and took the lead for good with three in the fifth. Nico Iavicoli (Hampden, MA/Longmeadow) was doubled home by Brady Forrest, and Pagano put the Blazers up 5-3 with a two-run triple down the line in right.

            Lesley got one back on a two-base throwing error in the bottom of the fifth, as Andrew Colon (Watertown, MA/Watertown) scored from first on a bunt to the pitcher followed by a Pagano overthrow to third. The Blazers tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh, as Lynx reliever Nick Dolan (Strafford, NH/Bishop Brady) came on with one on and one out and was welcomed with a two-run homer from Pagano to right-center to make it 7-4, and Lesley scored one in the seventh to fall 7-5.

            For the Blazers, Derek Leal (Charlton, MA/Shepherd Hill) threw 2 and 2/3 innings of one-run relief for the win, striking out two and walking none. Lesley's Ryan Genua (Prospect, CT/Woodland) fell to 1-1 with the loss, fanning four and allowing six runs over 6 and 1/3 innings.

            Pagano provided the power on his decisive blasts with a triple and homer, going 2-for-4 with five driven in. Steve Fisher (West Boylston, MA/West Boylston) and Alex King (Lebanon, CT/Lyman) each scored twice as Elms improved to 3-8.

            Shah went 2-for-4 with a double and a run, and Gonzalez went 1-for-3 with a run and two RBI's for the Lynx.

            In Game 2, the Blazers jumped out to an early lead thanks to some timely hitting, with a Forrest double plating Pagano and King to put the visitors ahead 2-0 in the first. Lesley tied the contest in the bottom half, loading the bases with no outs on two hits and a walk.  Cleanup hitter John Gosnell drove in the Lynx first run on a base on balls, and Plansky tied the game on a hard-hit double-play grounder to third.

            Cootware gave the Lynx the lead with his no-doubt blast, launching the first home run in Lesley history over the left field fence to make it a 4-2 game after one. The Blazers cut the lead in half on a hit-and-run that scored Zach Dreher (Naugatuck, CT/Naugatuck) from second on a Fisher single to the hole in left, but Lesley went up 5-3 in the bottom of the second on a bases loaded fielder's choice off the bat of Shah.

            The Blazers put together a five-run third on two RBI singles and two sac flies, chasing starter Greg Anglin (Milton, MA/Milton) from the game after three innings and eight runs, five of them earned, and three strikeouts. Leading 8-5, Elms' Ryan Burnette (Chicopee, MA/Comprehensive) struck out the side in order for a shutdown third.

              With two outs in the fifth, Pagano's second single of the game drove in one and Donny's Morse's two-run double opened up a 12-6 Blazers lead, but no sooner did Elms tack on three in the top half than did the Lynx answer in the bottom half.

             Plansky led off with a triple to right and was sent home on an infield single from Cootware, who was knocked home along with Ryan McQuade on a Joe Muratore (Mamaroneck, NY/Mamaroneck) double to right. With one out in the inning, Game 1 starter Derek Leal entered to face Plourd in a bases loaded, one-out jam left by Burnette. Leal froze Plourd looking and fanned cleanup hitter Gosnell on a high fastball to escape further damage.

            Elms loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, scoring two on a fielder's choice and an RBI double to go up by the final of 14-9.

            Burnette earned the win, going 3 and 1/3 innings, striking out four and allowing three earned. Leal came on for the save, throwing 2 and 2/3 of one-hit ball, striking out four.

            For Lesley, Anglin suffered the loss, allowing five earned over three innings.

            The Lynx return to play on Wednesday at Gordon College.