WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Junior Justin Clark (Chino Hills, Calif.) drove home the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning of game two to give the Lynx the 4-3 walk-off victory and sweep the University of Minnesota-Morris.
The Lynx return home with a program-best 7-2 record to begin the season and extend their winning streak to four games heading into New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action next weekend.
After sophomore southpaw Colin Reed (Bedford, N.Y.) retired the Cougars in order to begin game two, Lesley wasted little time in the home half. Senior third baseman Mike Slaby (Foxborough, Mass.) led off the bottom of the first with a double then advanced 90 feet with his fourth steal of the season. It appeared as if the Cougars were going to be able to get out of the inning unscathed when starter Nick Peterson retired the next two batters on strikes.
However, first year right-fielder and reigning NECC Rookie of the Week Steven DePalma (Albertson, N.Y.) came through in the clutch. DePalma lined a two-out single to drive in Slaby from third to give the Lynx the 1-0 lead.
Two innings later DePalma came through once again as Lesley added to their lead. First year shortstop Will Rhone (North Haven, Conn.) worked a two-out walk then quickly got himself into scoring position for sophomore power-hitting first baseman Ryan Pumphret (Shrewsbury, Mass.). Pumphret kept the inning alive reaching on an error by the third baseman. DePalma made the Cougars pay for their mistake with a base-hit to plate Rhone from third and increase the Lynx lead to 2-0.
The Cougars were able to get to Reed their second time through order. They grabbed one run back in the top of the fourth before pushing across two and knocking the southpaw out of the game in the middle of the fifth and take a one-run, 3-2 lead.
But their lead was short-lived as the Lynx answered in the bottom of the frame. Rhone drove in first year backstop Brendan Fairchild (Temecula, Calif.) with a sacrifice fly to right to tie the game at three. It's where the game stood until the bottom of the eighth.
During the bottom of the eighth the Lynx took advantage of another mistake in the field by the Cougars defense. Opening the inning with a walk, DePalma advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice by sophomore Nicholas Ferragine (Randolph, N.J.) for the second out. DePalma scampered to third when sophomore Vincent Taliercio (Valley Stream, N.Y.) reached on an error to keep the inning alive for Clark, who pinch-hit for first year Riley Golden (Irvine, Calif.).
Junior right-hander J.P. Agiorgousis (Hanscom AFB, Mass.) earned his first win of the year tossing three scoreless innings of relief allowing just one hit and striking out one.
Game 1: Lesley 8, Minnesota-Morris 6
The Lynx set the tone early in their first game of the day, batting around to push across six runs and take a commanding 6-0 lead. Minnesota-Morris made valiant comeback chipping away at the deficit scoring four runs over the next four innings to pull within two, 6-4. But it was as close as they would get.
In the top of the sixth, the Lynx took advantage of defensive mistakes in the field by the Cougars adding two more runs to take the 8-4 advantage. They needed those two additional runs as Minnesota-Morris scored twicethe bottom of the frame to pull back to within two.
Junior right-hander Nick Iadevaio (Mineola, N.Y.) earned his first victory of the season tossing 4.2 innings of solid relief allowing just two earned runs on five hits while striking out one.
Lesley returns home where they will open up NECC action with a three-game series against Newbury College beginning Saturday March 25. First pitch of the twin-bill is slated for noon.