New London, Conn. - March 16, 2013 - The Springfield College baseball squad splits its season-opening doubleheader at Coast Guard on Saturday afternoon in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play. The Pride lost the first contest, 5-4, in seven innings before clipping the Bears, 2-1, in the nightcap.
It marked the first time since 2004 that Springfield has played its first game of the season on New England soil. The Pride are now 1-1 on the season, while the Bears own a 6-3 record.
Springfield and Coast Guard were slated to play on Sunday, but the game has been postponed. Springfield will now travel to Florida for its Spring Break trip where it will play seven games, including a three-game set with conference-foe MIT. In the first game, the Pride held a 4-2 advantage heading into the bottom of the seventh. However, sophomore Matt Hanks led off the seventh with a single to left field and was moved to second by classmate Blake Thompson's single to right to put the Bears in position to have a chance to tie the game. Following a strikeout, senior Eric Gerken stepped to the plate and reached on an error. The error allowed Hanks to score and set up runners on the corners with two outs for senior Nolan Gallagher. Gallagher lined a single into right field to plate the game tying run and put runners at first and second.
Senior Tyler Babkiewich beat out a double play on the next play to keep the inning alive with another first and third situation for Massaro, this time with two outs. After taking a first pitch ball, Babkiewich stole second before Massaro lined that caromed off Springfield's third baseman, allowing Gerken to be scored from third on the play and Coast Guard took game one by a 5-4 margin.
Senior Riley Beecher got the start in the first game, tossing six strong innings, allowing just one earned run (four total) on seven hits, while striking out four and walking three. Senior Tyler Vieira (1-0) came on in the seventh in relief, working a scoreless frame to pick up the win and help Beecher to a no-decision.
Springfield struck first in the top of the first. After junior Jared Hopkins reached third on a leadoff single (advancing on a two-base error by Beecher), senior Kyle DiFranco knocked him in on a sacrifice fly to center for an early 1-0 lead.
The Bears struck back almost immediately in the bottom of the inning. Babkiewich tripled to right field to drive home Gerken from first, and on the very next pitch Massaro hit a high fly ball to center to score Babkiewich.
Springfield got a run back in the second inning to even things back up at 2-2 before the pitching settled in for both sides. In the fifth, with the score still tied, junior Ryan Grower scored from third on a passed ball to break the deadlock. Springfield would add another in the sixth to go up 4-2, as Grower singled in pinch runner junior Louis Ballas from second.
In the nightcap, Springfield broke the ice on the scoring in the third. After a leadoff single and stolen base by junior Mike McGowan, Sean Smith grounded out to third. However, McGowan took off on the throw to first by Wood and Hanks' throw back across the diamond was wide of the bag and skidded into left field allowing McGowan to score.
The Bears rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. Gallagher led off with a walk. Following a fly out by Babkiewich, Gallagher stole second, and would come around to score a batter later on a single to left by Sella to tie the game at 1-1.
In the eighth, senior reliever Curt Barrett came in to face the middle of the Springfield lineup. McGowan led off by being hit with Barrett's first pitch. Smith then sacrificed him to second, while reaching himself, on an error by Barrett, who tried to bare-hand the bunt attempt.
Following a sacrifice attempt by sophomore Brent Poulin which turned out to be a well-placed bunt hit, Springfield found the bases loaded with no outs yet again. After sophomore Shane O'Leary flew out to right, freshman Billy Paskowski hit a sac fly to center to score McGowan with the eventual game-winning run.
Sophomore Jack Porter (1-0) picked up his first win in relief with McGowan claiming his first save of the season for the Pride. Barrett (1-1) suffered the loss for the Bears.
Despite pitching masterfully both Williams and Petty received no decisions for their efforts. Williams' final line was five innings, no runs, four hits, five strikeouts, and one walk. Petty finished with seven innings, one (unearned) run, five hits, four strikeouts, and two walks.