HAVERHILL, Mass. – Lesley University picked up their third walk-off victory in the last seven days as senior Casey Blanchard (Bernardston, Mass.) followed a leadoff triple by freshman Daniel O'Donnell Jr. (Clark, N.J.) with a single through the left side to plate the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning. The 2-1 triumph in the nightcap salvaged a non-conference doubleheader with New England College as the Pilgrims took the opener 1-0.
The two teams will meet up for another twin-bill tomorrow afternoon at 1:00p in Henniker, N.H.
Game One: NEC 1, Lesley 0
The Pilgrims would tally the game's only run in the top of the sixth inning as freshman Shawn Queen (Seffner, Fla.) led off the inning with a walk, moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt, and then came around on an RBI single off the bat of junior Vincent Backert (Shelton, Conn.).
Both starters kept hitters on both sides off-balance as the teams combined for just six total hits – all of which were singles.
Freshman Elijah Holland (North Adams, Mass.) earned the win for the Pilgrims with a complete-game effort, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out four. The rookie faced just three over the minimum-21 batters.
His counterpart, freshman Nick DeGrenier (Marshfield, Mass.), was the tough-luck loser for Lynx as he went the distance, yielding just the one run on four hits and three walks while striking out three.
Game Two: NEC 1, Lesley 2 (Final – 8 Innings)
The nightcap was just as much of a pitcher's duel as the opener as neither offense could muster up many threats to score runs.
Lesley freshman Jack Snyder (Shrewsbury, Mass.) was masterful for the hosts, giving up just one run on two hits and four walks and striking out five. After allowing the lone run in the second inning, Snyder was dominant the rest of the way, not allowing a hit and retiring 19 of the final 22 batters he faced as he improved to 3-1 on the season.
NEC freshman Christopher States (Rochester, N.H.) scattered eight hits and three walks while allowing two runs and striking out six in the loss for the guests.
With the score knotted at 1-1, the Lynx nearly plated the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth as sophomore Justin Clark (Chino Hills, Calif.) sent a ball to deep right field that bounced high off the turn and rolled to the wall. Clark rounded third and attempted to make it an inside-the-park home run but a successful relay by the Pilgrims cut him down at the plate to keep the game tied.
The Lynx finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth as O'Donnell's liner sailed over the right fielder's head, allowing him to cruise to third before Blanchard's single ended the game for the split.
Clark finished 2-for-3 with a double and a triple while Blanchard finished a perfect 2-for-2 at the dish. O'Donnell accounted for both Lesley runs as he came around on an RBI single by freshman Nicholas Ferragine (Randolph, N.J.) in the second inning.