WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – The Lesley University baseball team split Monday morning's twin-bill against Utica College with a one-run, 4-3, victory in game two after dropping game one, 3-2.
Senior third baseman Mike Slaby (Foxborough, Mass.) opened the second game with a base-hit then quickly got himself into scoring position with his first steal of the season. He advanced 90 feet when Pioneer starter Alex Rocci uncorked a wild pitch before coming into score on single by sophomore Ryan Pumphret (Shrewsbury, Mass.).
The Lynx added to their lead in the top of the fifth. Junior centerfielder J.P. Agiorgousis (Hanscom AFB, Mass.) led-off with a double before advancing to third on an error by the catcher. Utica looked as if they may get out of the inning unscathed recording two quick outs but first year backstop Brendan Fairchild (Temecula, Calif.) came through in the clutch. The Southern California native lined a single to bring home Agiorgousis with the Lynx second run. Lesley grabbed another two more insurance runs aided by a Pioneer error in rightfield.
It appeared as if it was all the Lynx were going to need as sophomore starter Nick DeGrenier (Marshfield, Mass.) was dominant on the hill. The south shore native baffled Pioneer batters retiring 12 of the first 13 batters he faced – five by way of the strikeout – before giving up a one-out double in the bottom of the fifth inning.
However, the Pioneers were not going to go away quietly. Utica designated hitter Tom Carrigan launched a two-run shot in the bottom of the seventh to cut the Lynx lead in half, 4-2. DeGrenier retired the next two Pioneer batters before exiting after hitting second baseman Ryan Keefe with the pitch.
Junior right-hander Jeff Heinz (Portsmouth, N.H.) came on in relief but allowed a double to the first batter he faced, leftfielder Jacob Gaboriault. The game grew a little tighter for the Lynx when Heinz uncorked a wild pitch that plated Keefe and sent pinch-runner Brian McGuire to third.
Neil worked a two-out walk and just like that the Pioneers had the tying run 90 feet away and the winning run at first base. But tremendous defense up the middle saved the game for Lynx and gave Lesley their second victory of the season.
Closing out the game, Heinz earns his first save of the season while DeGrenier picked up his first win of the season tossing 6.2 innings allowing three runs on three hits while striking out three.
Improving to 2-1 on the season the Lynx will return to the diamond on Wednesday March 15th for a double-header against regional opponent Colby-Sawyer. First pitch is slated for 10:00 a.m.