The Springfield College Pride baseball team pulled off a 6-5 victory against New England Women and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)-foe Clark University, on Friday afternoon at Berry-Allen Field. Springfield College won despite being outhit 12-6.
The win puts the Pride over the .500 mark at 10-9 (4-6 in NEWMAC play). However, the loss moves the Cougars down to 6-17 (3-8).
“The win we needed,” Springfield head coach Mark Simeone explained. “There was a sense of urgency for both teams based on were we are in the standings.”
Senior Travis Lane (3-1) received the win, while Austin Knief (0-3) took the lost for the Cougars. Peter Baranski received his third save of the season.
Springfield was able to get off to an early 2-0 lead, as they put up a run in both the second and third innings, respectively, on only one team hit.
The hit came in the bottom of the third when sophomore Billy Peterson attempted a sacrifice bunt, but was able to beat it out for a base hit due to the perfect placement down the third base line. Seniors Jared Hopkins and Steve Starr both walked to begin the inning, and moved up 90 feet on Petersons bunt single. Hopkins scored on senior Sean Smith’s sacrifice fly.
Junior Brent Poulin scored the run for the Pride in the bottom of the second inning after he walked, advanced to second base and then took third on a pair of wild pitches. Eventually, Poulin scored as junior Billy Paskowski grounded out to short. Paskowski received credit for the RBI.
The Cougars took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning off of three hits, including a triple down the right field line by leadoff hitter Nicholas O’Brien.
The Pride limited the damage when Daniel Lima came up to bat with one out and runners on first and third base. Lima drove a ball to center field, but Steve Starr was there to make the catch. O’Brien broke for the plate, but Starr delivered a one-hop throw to catcher Smith, who tagged O’Brien out for an inning-ending double play.
The lead didn’t last very long, as the Pride came back to score four runs in the bottom half of the fifth on just three hits. Just like the third inning, Hopkins and Starr started it off by reaching on a base on balls. After a wild pitch that moved the two runners up 90 feet, Peterson came up although this time he was not bunting. Peterson was able to single through the middle and that brought home Hopkins.
“I was just looking for a pitch to drive. With the middle of their infield in, I knew that I just needed to get one by them,” Peterson said. “I knew we had the heart of our lineup coming up with [Smith] and C.J. [Monroe], so I was just looking to get on base and let them do all of the work.”
Smith followed it up with a single that split the shortstop and 3rd baseman. After a sacrifice bunt by junior CJ Monroe, fellow junior Brent Poulin doubled into the right center gap for a base clearing double. That gave the Pride a 6-3 lead, and it would end up being all they needed.
A big scare came for the Pride in the top of the seventh when freshman Mitch Goldman allowed two singles and a walk and struck a guy out looking, creating a scenario of bases loaded and one out. On a 2 balls, 2 strikes offering, Goldman rolled up a ground ball from Cougar junior David Eschen. The clutch out had the Pride bench fired up, and the freshman pitcher from Uxbridge, Mass. pumping his fist in delight.
“The double play was huge,” Goldman admitted. “The at bat was a battle. I used all of my pitches during the at bat and he kept fouling things off, so I knew that I had to do something. I had to make a pitch and be tough, so I threw him an inside fastball and it jammed him enough to allow us to get out of the inning. This whole team is about being tough.”
The Cougars tacked on a run in both the sixth and ninth, but junior Matt Butrym and Baranski finished the game on the mound for the Pride and were able to hold on to the lead.
“We didn’t play perfect baseball, but we competed well and that’s why we won,” Coach Simeone won.
The game on Friday was the first of what will be seven games in six days for the Pride.
“We need to stay together, work hard, and expect to play better,” Simeone continued.
They’ll knock out two more on Saturday, as they travel to Worcester, Mass. for two more against Clark, with the first staring at noon.
Senior Eric Chase is slated to start game one on the mound for the Pride, while Simeone will give the ball to ace, Ollie Collette for game two on Saturday.
The Pride will then play at Emerson College on Sunday for another NEWMAC contest. The Cougars host Bates College in a non-NEWMAC game on Sunday, but return to conference play with Babson College on Tuesday.