NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. – Lesley University punched their ticket to the New England Collegiate Conference Championship Tournament for the second straight season as the Lynx overcame three separate deficits in a do-or-die game to top Daniel Webster College 6-4 in the regular season finale.
Lesley will enter the postseason as the third-seed and will square off with second-seeded Elms College on Friday at 3:00p at Mitchell College. The Mariners earned the top-seed in the tournament while Becker College will play as the third seed.
Freshman Tom Muratore (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) powered the Lynx as he improved to 6-2 on the season with a complete game effort, yielding seven hits, four runs (three earned), and striking out eight. The win extends his single-season record to six while he also reset the single-season program record of innings pitched with 59.0. The previous record was held by Ryan Genua '14.
The top of the lineup provided the majority of the damage for the Lynx as senior Rob Parson (Commack, N.Y.) and Gustavo Polidor (Caracas, Venezuela) went a combined 6-for-10 at the plate. Parson finished with two doubles, two runs scored, and two steals while Polidor added a run and an RBI. Junior Casey Blanchard (Bernardston, Mass.) also had a big day at the dish as he finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, two runs scored, and an RBI.
Senior Dan Ierardi (Dunstable, Mass.) powered the Eagles attack from atop the lineup as he finished 1-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored, including a swipe of home plate in the top of the fifth inning. Fellow senior Kyle Brigham (Hudson, N.H.) also finished 1-for-4 with a walk, a double, a run scored, and an RBI.
The Eagles got on the board first as Brigham reached second on a ball misplayed in the Lynx outfield before scoring on a two-out single by sophomore Dan Quinn (Auburn, N.H.) to put the guests up 1-0.
The Lynx would not answer until the bottom half of the third inning as Parson reached on a ground-rule double to left-center and quickly stole third. The senior would cross the plate when Polidor hit a slow roller up the first base line, allowing Parson to scurry in from third as the Lynx tied the score at 1-1.
DWC would jump ahead once again in the fifth inning as Ierardi reached with an infield single, moved to second on a ground ball to the right side, advanced to third on a wild pitch and then stole home with two outs to put the Eagles back in front.
The Eagles would extend their lead to 3-1 in the next inning when sophomore Fernando Osorio (Manchester, N.H.) hit a sacrifice-fly to centerfield that plated freshman Mike Pelletier (Pelham, N.H.).
The Lynx would have an answer in the bottom of the sixth as sophomore Mike Slaby (Foxboro, Mass.) led off with a walk before moving to third on a Blanchard double to left field. Slaby would come in for the first Lesley run of the inning on a ground out by senior Ray Cohen (Coventry, Conn.) before classmate Kevin Hopwood (Winter Haven, Fla.) sent a two-out single to centerfield to score Blanchard to tie the game at 3-3.
After the Eagles pulled ahead 4-3 with a run in the next half inning, the Lynx pulled ahead for good in the bottom half of the seventh. Parson led off with a double down the left field line before moving to third on a Polidor single. One batter later, Slaby would bring Parson in with a sacrifice-fly to center before Blanchard crushed a double to right-center that allowed Polidor to score all the way from first. The Lynx would cap the scoring in the inning when senior Joe Muratore (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) sent a single through the left side to bring in Blanchard to put the Lynx up 6-4.
The Eagles made things very interesting in the top of the ninth as the first two batters of the inning drew walks, but Muratore battled back to get back-to-back strikeouts before forcing a ground-out to end the game.
The win improves Lesley to 14-21 overall on the season and an even 9-9 in the NECC. Their 14 wins sets a new single-season program record. The previous record of 13 wins was set in 2013. Daniel Webster ends their season at 8-19 overall and 3-15 in the conference.