Late Push by Baseball Can’t Overcome Deficit in 7-5 Loss at MCLA

nate hickey connects on a pitch

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – The Southern Vermont College baseball team scored three times in the top of the ninth in a last-ditch attempt Tuesday afternoon, but the visiting Mountaineers could not complete the comeback as Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts finished off the 7-5 non-conference win at Joe Wolfe Field.

The Trailblazers tacked up an early two runs in the bottom of the first, and each team added a score for MCLA to stay up by a pair at 3-1 through the third. The hosts added two more in both the fourth and fifth frames before Southern Vermont got one back in the top of the seventh.

That 7-2 margin stood until the final box when SVC trimmed its deficit and scored three times to get within a pair. The Mountaineers had the tying run in scoring position with two down, but a final fly out to right wrapped it up for the Trailblazers.

Southern Vermont (4-13) now prepares to hold Opening Day at Bill Epstein Field on Wednesday in conjunction with a New England Collegiate Conference doubleheader which is set to now begin at 1 p.m.

SVC sophomore center fielder Zack Stacey (Saratoga, N.Y.) went 2-2 with a pair of walks and two runs scored as he extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Freshman left fielder Anthony LaBella (Exeter, N.H.) was 2-4 with a walk and an RBI while sophomore catcher Dan Mason (Bloomingdale, N.Y.) turned in a 1-3 showing at the dish with a walk, a run scored, and another run batted in.

Southern Vermont freshman Nick Gambardella (Hollywood, Fla.) took the loss (0-2) from the hill while striking out three in his five innings with the start.

For the 11th time in the team's 17 games this year, Stacey led-off the contest with a hit as the sophomore got aboard on a single. SVC put runners at the corners with one down, but MCLA worked out of it to keep the Mountaineers scoreless. The Trailblazers then tacked up two runs on a hit and an SVC miscue for a lead they would not relinquish.

Southern Vermont came back with one run in the top of the second after loading the bases with two down. Mason took a pitch to the body—allowing junior third baseman Rob Spatafore (Mahopac, N.Y.) to trot home and touch the dish.

Both sides stranded runners in their next at-bat, and MCLA then tallied a run-scoring single with two outs in the bottom of the third. The Trailblazers put up another two in the fourth with two hits and a fielding mishap by SVC, and they added two more in the fifth on four hits.

Each team went down in order in the sixth before Southern Vermont inched closer with a solo run in the top of the seventh. Stacey started the inning with a single, and he would move around 180 feet on a pair of ground outs. Senior Anthony Mercuri (Ridge, N.Y.) then registered an RBI as Stacey came home to make it a 7-2 score.

The Mountaineers got MCLA to strand a runner at first in the bottom of the eighth, and they would create some momentum in the ninth to make it interesting. Stacey started the frame with a walk, and a wild pitch moved him to second before a Mason single placed runners at the corners. Freshman pinch hitter Nate Hickey (Bristol, Conn.) came through with a run-scoring single, and SVC would then load the bases with just one out.

A sacrifice fly to left scored Mason from third, and LaBella followed that with an RBI double to make it 7-5. MCLA would get the final out in the air, however, as the Trailblazers closed out the win to grab their first victory against Southern Vermont in the two sides' last six meetings.