Mountaineers score late to top Daniel Webster

BENNINGTON — It took a few innings, but the Southern Vermont College baseball team finally got on track against Daniel Webster.

Trailing 2-1 into the seventh inning, the Mountaineers scored eight runs in the final three frames to score a 9-5 victory at Bill Epstein Field on Monday afternoon.

"We always talk about approach and getting up there and swinging at good pitches," said SVC coach Dave Gage. "A couple of guys stepped up when we had men on base and hit situationally well."

The Mountaineers finally came to life offensively with four runs in the seventh inning to take a 5-2 lead, starting at the bottom of the lineup. John Arancio, batting in the No. 7 spot, singled to start the inning and then Rob Spatafore, trying to sacrifice as SVC was looking for the tying run, laid down a terrific bunt down the third base line that no one could make a play on.

The next hitter, Luigi Magliocca, bunted as well — this one down the first base line — and the ball spun on the dirt but never pushed foul as all the runners were safe.

"The bunts set us apart later in the game, they were right on the line," Gage said.

This loaded the bases for Zack Stacey. The sophomore, who came in as the second best hitter with a .308 average this spring, didn't get a hit, but drove a fly to deep left, driving home Arancio to tie the game at 2-2.

Niko D'Agnese reached on a fielder choice, sending home Spatafore to give the Mountaineers the lead. After a walk by Anthony LaBella, Anthony Mercuri, fresh off a Team of the Week honor, singled to right and then Dan Mason doubled to right to score two runs for a 5-2 lead, the inning ending as Mercuri was thrown out with a good relay throw.

In the top of the eighth, SVC extended its advantage with three more runs to bust the game open. Again, the rally began in the bottom half of the lineup as Noah Dubois reached on an error from the shortshop and two walks loaded the bases once again. Magliocca struck out for the first out, but then Stacey, who had hit in 17 straight games this season — tying the Southern Vermont College record — came up with his first hit of the day, a two-run double to left to make the score 7-2.

"Any time a sophomore does that, just from the mental side of it, it's amazing," Gage said. "When he comes up when we have runners on, I'm a happy third base coach. He's done a great job this season and been a real leader for us."

Stacey's streak bettered the 17-game string from Pat Warrington back in 2012.

A handful of Mountaineers had strong days at the plate, including Mason, who went 3-for-5 with three doubles and Magliocca, who was 3-for-5 with a double and two singles. D'Agnese and Arancio each had multiple hit games.

"Luigi is a competitor and playing pretty well," Gage said. "We always ask them to be competitors. He's only 5-foot-5, but he hits the ball hard and is mentally ready to beat anyone. Some of the guys hadn't been hitting well yet this season, so it was nice to see that happening today."

Daniel Webster came back with three of their own in the bottom of the eighth. Joshua Hay started the inning on the bump for SVC and gave up a hit-by-pitch and a walk. Dylan Angelo, the most recent NECC pitcher of the week came on and induced a groundout, but then a walk led to a two-RBI single from Radolfo Acosta to cut the Mountaineer lead to 7-4. Turning the lineup over, Mike Pelletier added another RBI hit to make it a 7-5 game. But the senior Angelo staunched the bleeding with a pair of flyouts to center to end the threat.

SVC scored one more insurance run in the ninth and Angelo set down the Eagles in order in the bottom half of the inning to finish it.

For the Mountaineers, Tyler Graham started and went six innings, allowing only two runs and nine hits, scoring his first collegiate victory after four defeats. Hay and Angelo pitched for SVC as well.

For Daniel Webster, Nasi Nikolopoulous started and went five innings, allowing seven hits and a single run, but he got a no-decision. Matt Dietrich allowed seven of the eight runs and took the loss.

SVC has eight games in the next week as early-season postponements and NECC matchups are starting to catch up to the Mountaineers. Their win on Monday gives them a 7-15 record overall, but 5-2 in conference play — at the top of the standings. Today, they face Norwich in a non-conference matchup at Epstein Field.

"We have to take care of our bodies and our bench has to be good momentum guys with no let down, be that energy when it's the third game in two days," Gage said.


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