Late Push Comes Up Short as Baseball Falls 9-6 to Norwich

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BENNINGTON, Vt. – The Southern Vermont College baseball team scored five times in its final five trips to the plate Tuesday afternoon, but that would not be enough to overcome an eight-run deficit as the hosting Mountaineers fell 9-6 to Norwich University in non-conference action at Bill Epstein Field.

The Cadets used a pair of four-run frames to go in front 9-1 after the top of the fifth. SVC came back with a lone score in both the fifth and sixth innings before tacking up two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Southern Vermont was only able to cross the dish once in the ninth as NU captured the win.

The Mountaineers (7-16) are back in action on Wednesday with a 3:30 p.m. non-league home game against SUNY Oneonta while Norwich (9-16) gears up to host Johnson & Wales University on Saturday for a Great Northeast Athletic Conference doubleheader set to begin at 1 p.m.

SVC freshman left fielder Connor Pingitore (Amsterdam, N.Y.) was 2-3 with a walk and two runs scored in the effort while sophomore designated hitter Dan Mason (Bloomingdale, N.J.) went 1-4 with a walk and two runs batted in. Sophomore center fielder Zack Stacey (Saratoga, N.Y.) extended his hitting streak to 19 games as he went 1-4 with a walk, a run scored, and another run batted in. Sophomore catcher Cody Sullivan (Schuylerville, N.Y.) turned in a 1-3 showing at the plate with two walks and two runs scored.

Cadet freshman designated hitter Andrew Fisher (Tewksbury, Mass.) went 3-3 with two runs batted in for the visitors while sophomore left fielder Kevin Lynch (Randolph, Mass.) was 3-5 with two runs scored. Sophomore shortstop Mike Lesco (Somers, Conn.) had a 1-3 day at the plate with a walk, two runs scored and three RBI's, and freshman third baseman Eamon Smith (Rollinsford, N.H.) went 2-3 with a walk and a run batted in during the win.

NU sophomore reliever Matt Paze (Carlisle, Mass.) picked up the win (1-1) from the bump after coming on in the fourth. SVC freshman lefty TJ Rosselli (Deer Park, N.Y.) was strapped with the loss (0-1) while striking out three in two innings with the start.

Two-straight walks with one down allowed Fisher to send a run-scoring single up the middle in the top of the first and put the visitors in front quickly. Norwich added four runs on four hits in the second with Lesco drilling a ground-rule double down the line in right for two runs to score. Smith added an RBI-ground out to short before Fisher sent another back up the middle to make it a 5-0 game.

Sullivan led-off the bottom of the second with a triple smacked to right-center, and freshman first baseman Cameron Clark (Fulton, N.Y.) came through with a sacrifice fly to center for the Mountaineers to get on the board.

NU maintained its four-run edge until the top of the fifth when the visitors put up another four-spot. A single up the middle by senior center fielder LaShawn Thomas (San Antonio, Texas) scored the first run of the frame, and a double steal then allowed the second score to touch home. A wild pitch and a Lesco grounder to short then plated another pair for Norwich to go on top 9-1.

With two down and the bases empty in the bottom of the fifth, Pingitore dropped it just inside the line in left field to get aboard. Stacey then followed by extending his hitting streak to 19 games as he got a double of his own to land in center and score the freshman Mountaineer.

Southern Vermont continued to chip away in the sixth after getting runners to second and third. With two outs, junior shortstop John Arancio (Oradell, N.J.) legged out a grounder to short for the run-scoring single. The Mountaineers threatened to do some damage in the seventh as they loaded the bases with no outs. A wild pitch would bring Pingitore home from third, and back-to-back walks scored Stacey to set the score at 9-5. The Cadets worked out of the jam, however, as they got a strikeout and an inning-ending fly out to center to get back in the dugout.

Norwich was retired in order in both the eighth and ninth innings in SVC's attempt to have a final chance. With a runner on third and one out, Mason got enough of the ball to roll it over to second for freshman Nick Santoro (Syracuse, N.Y.) to trot home. A final strikeout by the NU pitching staff would wrap it up, however, for the Cadets to win their second-straight meeting with Southern Vermont.