LEICESTER, Mass. -- The Mitchell College baseball team ended the regular season with an 11-9 comeback victory at Becker College on Tuesday afternoon at Rochdale Park.
The Mariners fell into an early 6-0 hole but rallied back to plate 11 runs over the final seven innings. Kyle Hartenstein led the way by going 4-for-6 with a double and a home run while Garet Griffin added three hits and knocked in three runs. Griffin also hit his team-leading sixth homer of the season, giving him four in the past five games.
With the win, Mitchell improved to 27-8 overall and clinched sole possession of first place in the New England Collegiate Conference standings with a 15-3 record. The Mariners have earned the right to host the upcoming NECC Championship on May 4-6. A complete bracket with seeding, match-ups and game times will be released by the conference tomorrow night.
A Mitchell error in the first inning led to four unearned runs for Becker. The Hawks then tacked on two more runs in the second inning to extend the lead to 6-0.
The Mitchell bats woke up in the third inning and quickly cut the deficit to one. A two-run homer by Griffin got things started, and Peter Abate followed with a sacrifice fly before Jeremy Santos capped the frame with a two-run single up the middle. After the Hawks added a run in the home half of the third, the Mariners pulled even behind a solo homer by Hartenstein in the fourth and an RBI ground ball by Eric Marriott in the fifth.
Mitchell took the lead on a double by Jack Finnegan in the sixth that scored Griffin, and Abate added another sac fly to make it 9-7 before the end of the frame. Abate plated his third run of the day in the eighth to give the Mariners their biggest lead of the day at 10-7.
The Hawks rallied in the eighth to push across two runs and had the tying run on base when Mitchell went to the bullpen for Roland Thivierge, who struck out the next batter to keep the one-run lead intact.
In the ninth, back-to-back singles by Marriott and Hartenstein gave the Mariners runners at the corners with only one out. Griffin then dropped a bunt down to score Marriott from third with an insurance run to make it 11-9.
Thivierge didn't need the extra support, as he struck out two more batters in the ninth and retired the side in order to record his second save. Bryce Bedard, who tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, picked up the win and improved to 5-0 on the season.