Bennington, VT- The Southern Vermont College Mountaineers and the Becker Hawks met for the third game in two days and for the third straight time it was the same result, a Becker College victory. Sunday afternoon at Bill Epstein field the Mountaineers looked to avoid their first ever sweep in NECC action but the feat couldn't be accomplished as Becker came away with a 8-6 victory.
The Mountaineers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Dave Gage singled, Pat Warrington doubled, and Corey Armstrong hit a sacrifice fly to center field. Becker came firing right back though with three runs of its own in the top of the second. Weston Meehan, Cody Ewest, and Todd Tompkins all singled to load the bases with no outs. SVC starting pitcher Devin Rhodes then induced a groundball from Manny Sanchez to Armstrong at first base who quickly threw home to force Meehan at the plate for the first out of the inning. Mike Marcello earned himself a bases loaded walk to tie the ball game and Keith Kandel hit an RBI single to left field to make the score 3-1.
Senior captain Adam Northup answered with a homerun in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead in half. Although, the Hawks answered with a run in the fourth and a Meehan blast over the left field fence made the score 5-2 in Becker's favor.
After Hawks starter Jheremy Brown was pulled to start the seventh inning the Mountaineers finally broke through and tied the game. Dan Vardaro walked to lead off the seventh against reliever Trenton Gibson. Vardaro then moved to second on a balk and Dillon Desiderato reached first on an error. Gage then hit a single to right center field that was lost in the sun; but centerfielder Joe Corey quickly recovered and threw a strike to third basemen Ewest who relayed the ball home to get Vardaro at the plate. Corey Briggs then chased home Desiderato on a single up the middle to make the score 5-3. After a passed ball moved Gage and Briggs to second and third, Warrington singled up the middle and Armstrong tied the ball game with a single of his own.
After a scoreless eighth on both sides Becker broke the tie in the ninth with three runs which was good enough for the victory. In the top half of the frame Austin Phillips reached on an error, Ewest singled, and Tompkins hit an RBI double to unknot the tie. A sacrifice fly by Sanchez and a single from Marcello gave the Hawks a three run cushion.
Southern Vermont would make a rally of its own however, as Gage reached on an error and Briggs was walked to start the inning. Armstrong then hit a ground ball to shortstop that looked as if the game would be over on a 643 double play; but Gage screened the ball as he was making his way towards third causing a miscue from the Hawks shortstop. Gage came racing home and Briggs moved to third with the tying run on first base. Armstrong was pinch ran for by Ian Valentine but Valentine was erased from the bases when Tompkins threw him out stealing on the next pitch. Hawks pitcher Tony Cantalupa struck out the final SVC batter for the win and the weekend sweep.
Cantalupa earned the win for Becker throwing two innings and striking out two. Hawks starter Brown chucked six innings keeping the Mountaineers at bay only allowing two run on four hits. Brown struck out six in the outing. SVC starter Rhodes threw five innings allowing five runs. In relief Tim Johnson pitched three and two thirds innings and allowed one earned run. Rhodes and Johnson each gave up six hits and Johnson struck out one.
Ewest, Tompkins, Meehan and Marcello all had multi-hit games for Becker. Gage and Warrington were the only two who accomplished the feat for the Mountaineers.
Southern Vermont will continue NECC play this week when they travel to Daniel Webster Tuesday for a makeup game. Becker will travel to Lasell for a 7:00PM start on Wednesday night.