WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – A bases loaded RBI single to the right side in the bottom of the ninth would drive in the deciding run as the Pride of Springfield College (2-2) edged baseball (1-5) by the final of 4-3 Tuesday afternoon in the Chain of Lakes Stadium.
Following a two-run top of the ninth by UMass which tied the score at 3-3, the Pride got their first runner on base following an infield error. Springfield then moved the runner over to second on a routine sacrifice bunt, which put the game-winning run at second and only one out on the scoreboard. That runner would then move over to third after Jared Hopkins grounded out the pitcher.
The Beacons then intentionally walked the next batter, putting runs at the corners. With Tyler Kane (Wilbraham, Mass.) on the mound dealing for UMB the righty turned his attention to the Pride's Frank Calabrese looking for the third out of the inning. Kane fired in pitch after pitch to eventually load the count, and on the final pitch of the at-bat placed the ball perfectly right on the outside of the plate, but was unfortunately called ball four, there by loading the bases for the Pride.
Mike McGowan would then step to the plate and after seeing one pitch hit what should have been a routine grounder to first base. Just as freshman Jason Cholish (Exton, Pa.) was about to scoop up the ball for the final out of the inning, the ball hit the dirt and took a wicked bounce nearly hitting Cholish in the eye. The 6'3" infielder/designated hitter was able to smack the ball down just as Kane was sprinting for the bag. Cholish reached for the ball and tried to push it over to Kane but was unable to beat out McGowan as the game-winning run reached home plate.
For McGowan his game-winning RBI capped off a 2-for-5 day for the first baseman. On the day the Pride managed their four runs on eight hits. However the Pride's bats were held silent in the opening innings by a dominant pitching performance by UMB's Patrick Austin (Torrington, Conn.). The lefty, who made his first start of the year on Tuesday, dealt a solid 5.1 innings in which he struckout six. He would have been scoreless through the first six innings, but a questionable fair ball call in the bottom half of the sixth allowed the Pride to tack on their first of three runs in the inning. The two other Pride runs came as a result of an error.
Trailing by three after six the Beacons made it a two-run ball game in the eighth after Charles LaPaglia (Marshfield, Mass.) grounded out to the shortstop scoring Matt Consiglio (Southington, Conn.). A scoreless bottom half of the eighth by Springfield, would set-up a crucial top of the ninth for the Beacons.
Kurtis White (Nahant, Mass.) would lead of the inning with a double, which was then followed-up by a Cholish hit by pitch which put runners on first and second. Springfield would get their first out with a strikeout, before getting their second on a fielder's choice. Now with two outs on the scoreboard Gerard Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) stepped in as a pinch hitter. With one ball, two strikes count against him, Florentino unloaded a two run double to the left center tying the game at 3-3. Unfortunately as he rounded second he lost his footing giving the Pride defense the window they needed to get the third out before any more damage could be done as they picked-off the freshman hitter.
The late heroics only last the half inning as the Pride walked off with the victory as UMB's early season struggles continued. At the dish, Consiglio finished 2-for-3 with the one run scored. White also recorded a pair of hits as the freshman infielder went 2-for-4. The Beacons also finished the day with eight hits, but the two errors proved to be costly for UMB as they continue to put thing together for the 2013 season.
Baseball returns to action tomorrow afternoon when they take on Concordia University (Wis.) and McDaniel College in a pair of nine-inning games scheduled for 11:15 a.m. and 3 p.m.