NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College baseball team wrapped up non-conference play with a 12-3 victory over Johnson & Wales University on Thursday afternoon at Alumni Field.
Mike Jason had a pinch-hit, three-run homer that capped a six-run eighth inning and put the Mariners comfortably ahead. Kyle Hartenstein went 2-for-3 with a double and knocked in a run, one of seven Mitchell players who recorded an RBI in the game. Bryce Bedard picked up his first career win with a 3.1-inning stint in relief.
Rob Ballinger went 3-for-4 with a homer while Lou Umberto added a pair of hits to lead JWU. The Wildcats committed five errors in the field—all behind starter James Smiegocki—which led to Mitchell's first six runs.
Mitchell starter Devin Robbins got out of a sticky situation in the first inning. After JWU put runners on second and third with no outs, Robbins sandwiched a foul out with a pair of strikeouts to escape the inning unscathed.
The Wildcats got Robbins for a run in the third inning as Ballinger led off with a solo homer to right field, his second of the season. In the fourth, JWU again had runners at second and third with no outs and came up empty once more. Bedard took the ball in a tight spot and promptly got three straight ground balls to third base to keep it a 1-0 contest.
The Mariners tied the game in the home half of the fourth, as a pair of errors put runners on second and third with no outs. Peter Abate plated a run with a ball up the middle that Smiegocki deflected to his shortstop for a putout. A stellar defensive play then kept the game locked at 1-1 as Mitchell tried to score the go-ahead run on a fly ball to left. Armani Henderson made the catch and threw a strike to the plate to gun down the runner attempting to tag up and score.
Ballinger singled to start the JWU fifth and stole second to move into scoring position. Dave Matthews later singled to center to bring him home for the 2-1 advantage.
Mitchell took its first lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. The first two Mariners reached on errors, and Hartenstein drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to left. Griffin then delivered a two-out RBI single to center to bring in the go-ahead run.
Mitchell sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth inning and scored three runs to pad the lead to 6-2. Tyler Pina had a two-run double to highlight the rally.
The Wildcats got a run back in the seventh when Ryan Cabral drew a bases-loaded walk. Reliever Brian Ricker then got a ground out to strand three runners with the 6-3 lead intact.
The Mariners loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth and cashed in for six runs. A single by Steven Pagan plated the first run, and Griffin got hit by a pitch to bring in the second. After a ground ball by Abate made it 9-3, Jason blasted a two-out, three-run homer to right-center to complete the scoring. The home run was the first of his career.
Robbins allowed one run on four hits and struck out three over 3.0 innings. Bedard (1-0 overall) yielded one run on three hits in 3.1 innings of work. Smiegocki (4-1 overall) gave up five runs—all unearned—on six hits over 5.0 innings for the Wildcats.
Mitchell (23-10 overall) will next host Southern Vermont College for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 29 at noon. Johnson & Wales (17-16 overall) returns to action at Bridgewater State University on Friday, April 28 at 3:30 p.m.