Despite a potential ninth inning comeback, Pride baseball ended its Florida trip on top with an 8-5 victory over New Paltz on Saturday.
Going into the top of the ninth inning with an 8-1 lead, Jordan Elkary came on to get the last three outs. Zach Warenius reached on an error to lead off the inning, then Danny Campbell doubled to create men on second and third with no outs.
Chris Moran, the next batter, hit a two RBI single that cut Springfield’s lead to five runs. Jake Williams followed that up with a two-run home run, making the score 8-5 with still none out.
However, Elkary responded well and retired the next three batters to end the game.
Up to that point, the Pride dominated this ball game. Although the Hawks plated an early run in the first inning, Springfield scored eight unanswered before New Paltz’s four run ninth.
In the third inning trailing 1-0, Chad Shade hit a two out double, sending Nick Leduc to the plate with a chance to tie the game. The senior cashed in his opportunity, and drove in Shade with a clutch double.
Two innings later, Springfield tacked on two more runs to take their first lead of the game. With one out, Brandon Russo singled and stole second. Shade stepped up to the plate next and slugged a two-run home run to give the Pride a 3-1 lead.
Again in the seventh, Springfield increased their lead with two run scoring hits from Shade and Mark Joao. Marcelino Diaz led off the inning with a walk, and came around to score with a single from Shade. A couple batters later, Joao laced a double that scored Shade from first.
As if four insurance runs were not enough, the Pride rallied for three more runs in the eighth to take a commanding lead. With men on first and second, Diaz hit an RBI single scoring Jason Bean from second. Russo followed in the footsteps of his teammate and hit an RBI single of his own, scoring Brandon Drabinski from second.
Rounding out the scoring, Leduc reached on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded, which scored Diaz from third base.
Collectively the offense registered 13 hits, with Shade (3-4, 3 RBI, 3 R), Diaz (1-3, RBI, 2 R), and Russo (2-4, RBI, R) leading the charge.
Freshman Noah Bleakley made his first appearance on the mound for Springfield, and pitched a solid 5.2 innings. He surrendered just four hits and one run while striking out four in his first collegiate win.
In the sixth, Bleakley retired the first two batters, but ran into a bit of trouble when he let up a single and walked the next two. At that point, head coach Mark Simeone called upon Jack Weinberger to escape the jam.
Weinberger induced a grounder to retire the side and preserve the 3-1 lead at the time. The senior pitched a perfect seventh inning as well, before handing the ball to Fletcher Comment. The leftie worked a perfect eighth inning.
Aside from Elkary’s uncharacteristic performance, the Pride’s pitching staff was excellent in this game. Coupled with the continued offensive outburst shown throughout the week, Springfield looks to be in much better shape than it was at this point in the season last year.
The Pride improve to 8-3-1 on the year, having won six of its last seven games. The team returns to Archie Allen Field on Thursday March 22 to take on Fitchburg State.