BENNINGTON, Vt. – The Southern Vermont College baseball team picked up a pair of one-run New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) wins over Elms College Monday afternoon as the Mountaineers defeated the visitors 4-3 and then 2-1 at Bill Epstein Field.
SVC erased slim deficits in each game against a Blazer squad which entered the twin bill sitting at second place in the league standings.
Southern Vermont (11-14-1, 5-7 NECC) is right back at The Bill on Tuesday for a 4 p.m. non-conference contest against Williams College.
GAME 1: Southern Vermont 4 – Elms 3
After Southern Vermont went on top 4-1 in the fourth, Elms would bring the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh. The Blazers could only score two runs, however, for SVC to take the opener.
Mountaineer senior first baseman Cody Sullivan (Brunswick, N.Y.) went 2-3 with a run scored while senior center fielder Zack Stacey (Saratoga, N.Y.) was 1-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Junior left fielder Brandon Lara-Mack (San Gabriel, Calif.) chipped in with a 1-3 showing at the plate, and he batted in a run for the hosts.
SVC senior righty Ryan Richards (Beaumont, Calif.) improved to 4-0 on the year—giving up just two earned runs and striking out three in the complete-game victory. He is now in a seven-way tie for the most wins in a season, and he's tied at sixth for the most career wins (6) in just his second year of action.
After EC notched a run with two hits and a steal in the top of the first, Stacey got into scoring position when the Elms shortstop sailed a throw over the fence in the bottom of the frame. The Mountaineer was able to move up 90 feet on a grounder to the right side, and he then scampered home when senior designated hitter Ryan Serrato (Whittier, Calif.) grounded out to short.
SVC pulled ahead in the home half of the third when Lara-Mack sent a towering shot to the wall in right-center with two outs; the Blazers' center fielder tracked it well but lost the ball in the sun at the last second—allowing Liddy to come around from second and touch the dish safely.
Stacey gave Richards a little breathing room in the fourth when he stepped into the box and laced a double down the line in left—bringing home a pair for the 4-1 upper hand. The next two innings would be all zeroes on the scoreboard, and Richards returned to the bump in an effort to finish what he started.
Back-to-back one-out hits put a pair in scoring position for the Blazers, and a fielding error then allowed both runners to come in and score. Richards would record outs on the next two at bats, however, for SVC to chalk up its first home win of the year.
GAME 2: Southern Vermont 2 – Elms 1
Offense was at a premium in the backend of the doubleheader with the two sides combining for eight hits. Each team notched a run in the third, and SVC put up the eventual game winner in the fifth. The Mountaineers held on to the 2-1 advantage through the final out for the sweep.
Stacey went 2-3 with a run scored—both hits being doubles—while sophomore third baseman Zac Cronk (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) was 1-3 with an RBI. Freshman right fielder Jacob Villegas (Fontana, Calif.) was 1-2 with a run scored, and freshman second baseman Joseph Ruelas (Rowland Heights, Calif.) used a sacrifice fly to bring home the winning run.
Mountaineer left-hander Ryan Richardson (Pasadena, Md.) tossed a gem—giving up just one run on three hits and two walks; he struck out four Blazer batters in the win (2-4).
After a scoreless pair of innings started game two, EC went on top with a lone run in the third—taking advantage of a two-out walk and ensuing balk; the Blazers then came through with a clutch hit to center for the slim upper hand.
The lead would be short lived, however, as SVC came right back with some two-out offense of its own. Stacey started things with a double pulled down the left-field line, and he would motor around to score on a Cronk single slapped into shallow right-center.
The 1-1 tie stood into the bottom of the fifth when the Mountaineers used a solo score to go in front. Villegas started the box with a double deep into the right-center gap, and he then moved up to third on a passed ball. Ruelas would get just enough of one to put his team on top—flying out to shallow center for Villegas to sprint home and beat the tag.
Richardson quickly got his team back into the dugout as he retired the Blazer side in order on four pitches in the sixth. He then surrendered just a walk in the top of the seventh for Southern Vermont to claim its fifth-straight victory and third consecutive win over Elms.
– #LetsGoSVC –