NEW LONDON, Conn. – Two games were played on Saturday at the 2011 New England Collegiate Conference Baseball Championship at Mitchell College. The host Mariners outlasted Becker College to win a 15-12 slugfest in the first game, and Southern Vermont advanced to the title round on a walk-off homer in a 7-4 win over Daniel Webster College in the second.
The loss dropped Daniel Webster into the loser's bracket, where they were supposed to take on top-seeded Mitchell in Saturday's third game. Due to the length of the first two games, the third game has been postponed until Sunday at 11 a.m. The winner of that game will then meet Southern Vermont in the title round at 3 p.m. If needed, the final game of the double-elimination tournament would be played on Monday.
Adam Northup hit a walk-off, three-run homer to send the Mountaineers (18-20 overall) to the title round for the first time in school history. He went deep on a 1-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth after Daniel Webster (20-14 overall) had rallied to tie the score in the top of the frame. It was his fourth homer of the season.
The Eagles trailed 4-2 heading into the final inning but tied things up on a one-out, two-run triple by Bruce Brown. SVC closer Dave Gage recovered to nail down the final two outs and stranded the go-ahead run 90 feet away.
The Eagles answered right back with a pair of runs in the fourth to tie the game at 2-2. Starting pitcher Korey LeLievre tripled to lead off the frame and scored on a single by Rich Lizotte. Lizotte later scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly to left by Darrik Marstaller.
Southern Vermont took the lead back in the fifth when Dave Northup led off with a solo home run, his second of both the tournament and the season. The Mountaineers also picked up a run in the seventh when Dave Northup scored from second base on a failed pickoff attempt.
Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision. LeLievre went 7.0 innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits and struck out five while walking one. SVC starter Ben Naaktgeboren lasted 6.0 innings and allowed two runs on six hits while walking four and striking out eight. Gage (1-1 overall) picked up the win in relief while Lizotte (0-3 overall) took the loss.