If there were ever a hunch that college baseball games were being fixed, it would immediately be refuted Monday afternoon’s match-up between the Springfield College Pride and the Brandeis Judges.
Right from the onset, the game was compelling and nail-biting, as runs were scored in bunches in the late portions of the game on Berry-Allen Field at Springfield College that resulted in a 8-7 Brandeis win.
The game that started off as a pitchers’ duel resulted in a 8-3 deficit entering the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Pride desperate for answers to keep the game alive after surrendering three critical runs in the visiting half of the frame.
After back-to-back pitches hit Dan Bergami and pinch-hitter Keith Cotnoir, the Springfield bench came to life, as the bases were soon juiced with a Chris Wilcox single. The Pride’s next batter, Steve Starr, then made contact which resulted in a RBI infield single two batters later. Three more runs eventually scored thanks to Brent Poulin’s two-run double and Frank Calabrese’s fielder’s choice.
Just like that, the Pride found itself within one of tying the game with two outs and a runner on third as Springfield’s fourth hitter, Sean Smith, strolled to the plate. However, after a chopper to third and consequent put-out, the game concluded not with a boom, but rather with a whimper for the Pride.
“It was a nice comeback,” said head coach Mark Simeone. “We made it interesting in the last inning and fell a little short. We had opportunities early on to push across a couple runs and potentially go ahead and have more of a command on the game, but we didn’t do enough to win.”
Despite two hits through the first five innings, the Pride ultimately electrified its bats and had a tremendous spread of offense as sophomore Billy Peterson went 2-for-3 at the plate while Corey Wilcox and Jared Hopkins each went 2-for-4.
“It was tough,” said Peterson. “We fought back when showed adversity towards the end of the game, but that’s a good team we played today…and we just didn’t do enough to win.”
The Judges broke the scoreless streak in the fifth inning, when they exploded for four runs. From there on out the Pride chipped away at the lead up until the fateful top half of the ninth, a defensive half that proved to be the ultimate downfall of an already faltering Springfield team.
Elio Fernandez got the win while Alex Williams was handed the loss, as the Judges climb to 12-14 while the Pride stay just a game above .500 at 12-11, as their two-game win streak was snapped.
Though a non-conference game, the Pride still went into the tussle looking for a win to keep momentum going. Now, however, the team’s attention is devoted towards Tuesday’s New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference match-up against Emerson.
“All games are important. To accumulate wins is important. To qualify for the conference tournament with a chance to win it gets you an opportunity to play in the post-season, but so does an accumulation of wins,” said Simeone.
As the Pride reach the mid-point of their regular season, Simeone’s squad knows that all games at this point matter towards their ultimate goal of success.
“Even though it was a non-conference game, we were trying to keep the ball rolling and have ourselves a good game,” said Peterson. “I thought for the most part we had a good game, we just didn’t do enough to win,” he added.
The Pride will resume conference play against Emerson Tuesday, followed by a local non-conference game against Elms College.
There is no rest for the weary as the Pride have seven more chances to solidify themselves at the top of the conference, and if resiliency and attitude is any factor, the Pride have all the potential to do just that.