NEW LONDON, Conn. – Fourth-seeded Lesley University and top-seeded Mitchell College advanced to the title round of the 2017 New England Collegiate Conference Baseball Championship on Sunday afternoon at Alumni Field.
The Lynx secured their spot with a 3-2 win over second-seeded Elms College, earning a title-round berth for the first time in school history. Mitchell won a pair of elimination games to advance out of the loser's bracket, defeating third-seeded Becker College 21-2 before posting a 9-4 win over Elms.
Lesley (20-17-1 overall) and Mitchell (29-12 overall) will square off for the NECC title on Monday, May 8 at 11:30 a.m. The Lynx can claim the championship with a single win while the Mariners would need two.
Lesley built a 3-0 lead after five innings and made the margin stand with strong pitching and clutch defense. The Blazers—who outhit the Lynx 13-7 but left 16 runners on base—had chances to tie the game in the final three innings but were denied each time.
An RBI single by Jacob Cervantes (Oxnard, Calif.) put the Lynx on the board in the second inning. Lesley padded the lead with a pair of runs in the fifth, the first coming on a single through the left side by Vincent Taliercio (Valley Stream, N.Y.) and the second on a double to right field by Steven DePalma (Albertson, N.Y.).
Lesley starter Nick Iadevaio (Mineola, N.Y.) kept the Blazers scoreless through six. Elms finally broke through in the top of the seventh as Aedin Wadja (Lebanon, Conn.) led off with a single and Stephen Harrison (Southbury, Conn.) followed with a home run to right field to cut the deficit to 3-2. The Blazers threatened to score the tying run later in the frame, but shortstop Nicholas Ferragine (Randolph, N.J.) fielded a grounder and cut down the runner at the plate.
Elms had the tying run at second with one out in the eighth but came away empty as reliever J.P. Agiorgousis (Hanscom AFB, Mass.) got out of the jam with a fly ball and a strikeout. The Blazers then loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth against Tom Muratore (Mamaroneck, N.Y.), who got the final batter to foul out to end the game.
Iadevaio (5-4 overall) gave up two runs on 10 hits and struck out three over 6.0 innings. Nick DeGrenier (Marshfield, Mass.), Agiorgousis and Muratore each threw 1.0 inning of scoreless relief. Muratore, the winning pitcher in Lesley's first game of the tournament, picked up his second save of the season.
Elms starter Matt Plasse (Westfield, Mass.) gave up three runs on six hits over 6.0 innings and fanned five. He dropped to 5-3 on the season. Tim Gelzinis (North Dighton, Mass.) went 4-for-5 at the plate to lead the Elms offense.
2017 NECC Baseball Championship
Saturday, May 6
Game 1: Lesley 5, Mitchell 4
Game 2: Elms 14, Becker 5
Sunday, May 7 (at Mitchell)
Game 3: Mitchell 21, Becker 2
Game 4: Lesley 3, Elms 2
Game 5: Mitchell 9, Elms 4
Monday, May 8 (at Mitchell)
Game 6: #1 Mitchell vs. #4 Lesley, 11:30 a.m.
Game 7: (If necessary)