NORTHBORO, Mass. -- The Mitchell College baseball team opened the 2019 season with a 6-5 victory over UMass Dartmouth on Friday afternoon at the New England Baseball Complex.
The Mariners trailed 5-3 in the seventh inning before Eric Marriott blasted a three-run homer to provide the game-winning runs. Brian Ricker labored through the final nine outs without giving up a run to earn the save. Roland Thivierge picked up the win by tossing 3.0 innings of middle relief.
Mitchell got off to a good start thanks to a two-run homer by Dougie DelaCruz in the first inning. The rookie went yard in his very first collegiate at bat against UMass ace Matt Cronin, a D3baseball.com preseason All-American.
Trailing 3-2 in the sixth, Mitchell pulled even on an RBI double by Steve Cochrane, one of two hits for the newcomer on the day. However, the Corsairs took the lead right back with a pair of runs in the home half of the frame.
Sam Majewski singled to lead off the Mitchell seventh. Hunter Yaworski then took his place at first base on fielder's choice before moving into scoring position on an error. With two outs and the tying run at the plate, Peter Abate got hit by a pitch to bring Marriott into the box. The senior then crushed a three-run bomb to put the Mariners back on top for good.
Jakari Pellegrini got the starting nod for the Mariners and tossed 3.0 innings in his season debut. The Mitchell staff gave up nine hits on the day but also had to pitch around three errors.
The season started a little earlier than anticipated, as Friday's game was added just over 48 hours before first pitch. A cancellation on the UMass schedule left an opening for a neutral site game on a turf surface, and Mitchell head coach Travis Beausoleil was more than happy to start the season a week early. It marked the earliest first game in the school's Division III history and only the second time that the baseball team has started the season in February; the program typically begins the season with a southern trip to warmer climates in early March.
Mitchell (1-0 overall) will next play Heidelberg University on Friday, March 1 at noon in Port Charlotte, Fla.