NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College baseball team captured the first two games of its weekend series with Southern Vermont College, posting wins by 11-4 and 10-8 finals on Saturday afternoon in New England Collegiate Conference action at Alumni Field.
Mitchell scored 11 unanswered runs in the first game after falling into an early 4-0 hole. Francis Prettitore and Garet Griffin each finished with three hits and combined to drive in five runs, and starting pitcher Axel De Jesus made it through 4.0 innings to collect the victory on Senior Day.
In the second game, the Mariners let an early 4-0 lead slip away but slugged four home runs and twice overcame two-run deficits. A two-run homer by Tristan Hurley snapped an 8-8 tie in the bottom of the sixth and propelled Mitchell to victory. Brian Ricker tossed 6.0 innings of relief to pick up the win on the hill.
Mitchell's Kyle Hartenstein finished with two hits in the doubleheader to break the school's Division III single season record for hits. His home run in the second game was his 60th hit of the season.
Mitchell (25-10 overall, 12-3 NECC) and Southern Vermont (7-26 overall, 5-10 NECC) will wrap up the three-game series with a nine-inning contest on Sunday, April 30 at noon.
Game 1 – Mitchell 11, Southern Vermont 4
Southern Vermont sent its entire lineup to the plate in the opening inning and pushed across four runs for the early advantage. A pair of Mitchell errors helped the cause, and Noah DuBois and John Arancio each supplied RBI singles before De Jesus could get out of the inning.
Mitchell started the comeback with a pair of runs in the home half of the frame. The first run scored on a ground ball by Tyler Pina while Griffin singled up the middle to cut the deficit to 4-2.
The Mariners tied the game in the third behind an RBI double by Griffin and an RBI single by Peter Abate. Mitchell then loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, and Prettitore plated two runs with a single through the left side of the infield. Griffin later added a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 7-4.
Jack Finnegan doubled to lead off the Mitchell fifth and later scored from third on a base hit by Hurley. The Mariners then tacked on their final three runs in the sixth inning, with Finnegan making it 11-4 with a ground-rule double that scored Markus Melendez.
De Jesus (5-4 overall) gave up four runs—all unearned—on eight hits over 4.0 innings and struck out six. Jakari Pellegrini and Connor Dulin each saw time in relief and combined to allow one hit over 3.0 scoreless innings.
Tyler Graham suffered the loss for the Mountaineers, allowing seven runs on nine hits over 3.0 innings. He struck out three and walked two and dropped to 1-6 on the season.
Dan Mason and Niko D'Agnese each finished with a pair of hits to lead the SVC offense.
Game 2 – Mitchell 10, Southern Vermont 8
It was Mitchell that jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the nightcap, scoring all four runs in the first inning off SVC starter Joseph Braim. The Mariners loaded the bases with no outs before Pina brought in the first run with a sacrifice fly to left. Griffin then singled through the left side to make it 2-0, and Mike Jason later plated a pair with a two-out single through the right side.
SVC answered right back with six runs in the second to take over the lead. The Mountaineers drew three consecutive walks to load the bases, and Connor Pingitore and D'Agnese provided back-to-back singles to cut the deficit in half. After a hit batter and a passed ball tied the game, Zack Stacey laced a double to left-center to score two and make it 6-4.
Braim settled down after the rough start and kept the Mariners off the scoreboard until the fourth. A ground-rule double by Prettitore got things started, and he scored when, while moving to third on a fly ball to right, the cut-off throw went out of play. Griffin then tied things up at 6-6 with a solo homer to left-center, his team-leading fifth of the season.
The Mountaineers pulled back in front in the top of the fifth thanks to another RBI single by Pingitore. Arancio also scored on a wild pitch in the frame as SVC went back up by a pair. Solo homers by Steven Gonzalez and Hartenstein evened the game once again in the bottom of the frame. Gonzalez's shot was the first of his career while Hartenstein picked up his third of the season.
SVC put the go-ahead run in scoring position in the sixth, but Ricker got a pop up to keep the game knotted at 8-8. That changed in the home half of the sixth as Hurley provided a two-out, two-run blast to right for his first round-tripper of the season.
Ricker retired the side in order in the seventh to improve to 5-1 on the season. He allowed two runs on four hits and fanned five over 6.0 innings.
Braim went 4.0 innings and surrendered six runs on six hits while walking five. Reliever Nick Gambardella was tagged with the loss, allowing four runs on four hits in 2.0 innings of work.
- Prior to the game the Mariners honored eight seniors -- Pina, Hurley, Gonzalez, Prettitore, Jason, De Jesus, Devin Robbins and team manager Abe Sheinkman. The senior class has won 109 games over the course of the past four seasons, the most by any class in Mitchell's history.
- The seniors came up big on Senior Day, combining for 10 runs, 11 hits, two doubles, two homers and 10 RBI in the doubleheader.
- Hartenstein passed former teammate and current assistant coach Ken Olszewski for most hits in a single season. Olszewski had 59 hits as a senior in 2015.