NEW LONDON, Conn. – Both higher seeded teams were upset on Friday on the first day of play at the 2011 New England Collegiate Conference Baseball Championship. Fourth-seeded Southern Vermont College upended top-seeded Mitchell College by a 6-2 final in the first game while third-seeded Daniel Webster College topped second-seeded Becker College by a 9-2 final in the nightcap.
Southern Vermont (17-20 overall) and Daniel Webster (20-13 overall) will face each other for a spot in the finals on Saturday at 1 p.m. Mitchell (19-9-1 overall) and Becker (22-10) will meet in Saturday's first game at 10 a.m. The double-elimination tournament will feature three games on Saturday before the title round on Sunday.
Southern Vermont jumped on top early and rode a complete-game performance by Connor Murray to the upset victory. Murray held the high-powered Mitchell offense to only two runs on six hits and struck out five in 9.0 innings.
The Mountaineers put three runs on the scoreboard in the first inning to take control. They loaded the bases with no outs and scored their first run on a wild pitch. Adam Northup followed with a sacrifice fly to right to bring in the second run, and Dan Cook added a RBI single to make it 3-0. Mitchell starter Jon Blair struck out the final two batters of the frame to strand two runners and limit the damage.
Dave Northup led off the second inning with a solo homer to center field to put the Mountaineers up 4-0. It was his first home run of the season. He then picked up another RBI in the third inning with a sacrifice fly to right.
Mitchell turned the ball over to junior John Apostolo at the start of the fourth inning to slow down the SVC offense. Apostolo helped his own cause in the bottom of the frame by hitting a two-out solo homer to center, his conference-leading 10th of the season.
The Mariners scored another run in the seventh when junior Felix Colarte led off with a single and later scored on a ground out by classmate Carlos Hughes.
Apostolo had to leave the mound before the start of the eighth inning with an injury. He was unhittable in 4.0 innings of relief and struck out seven and walked three. Senior Drew Rossi tossed the final 2.0 innings and allowed one run on one hit. The Mountaineers plated their final run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly to center by Pat Warrington that scored Dave Northup.
Mitchell put the lead batter aboard in the ninth thanks to a SVC fielding error, but Murray shook it off and got a strike out and double play to end the game. He improved to 2-2 on the season. The Mountaineers turned four double plays in the game to help the cause.