SVC lets lead slip away, drop game one against Becker

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BENNINGTON — Heading into the top of the seventh up a run, the Southern Vermont College baseball team was on the verge of taking game 1 of its key New England Collegiate Conference doubleheader against Becker on Wednesday afternoon. The Hawks though, spoiled the Mountaineers' chances at victory, tying the game in the seventh to force extra innings and then scoring a run in the eighth inning to collect a 5-4 win.

The Mountaineers put themselves in the driver seat in the bottom of the fifth when senior Anthony Mercuri lined a two-out base hit into center field to score pinch-runner Nate Hickey from second base to break the 3-3 tie.

Mercuri went 4-for-4 at the dish in Game 1.

Back with the lead in hand, SVC's starter, Dylan Angelo, set down the Hawks in order in the sixth inning, picking up his fourth strikeout of the game in the process.

After the Mountaineers failed to add to their lead in the bottom of the inning, Angelo came back out in the seventh to finish out his third win of the season, but the Hawks got the best of the senior right-hander in the inning.

Becker got a leadoff single by Nick Harriman and got Harriman, who ended up getting pinch ran for Samuel Derico, over to second base in the next at-bat with a sac-bunt by Trevor Read.

With Becker having a runner in scoring position, Angelo bore down and got the Hawks' next hitter to fly out to center.

Angelo however, was not able to get Becker's Vaibhav Desai out to finish the contest as the Hawks' second baseman smacked a single into center field to score Derico from second base to tie the game up at 4-4.

"Their kid took a great swing and they were able to take advantage of it," said SVC baseball coach Dave Gage. "I thought Dylan threw a great pitch and hit his spot, their kid though put a good swing on it and that's the way baseball goes sometimes."

Angelo escaped the inning with out further damage to give SVC a chance to win it via a walkoff in the bottom half of the frame, but Niko D'Agnese was picked off trying to steal second base for the Mountaineers and the game was sent into extras.

Like the seventh inning, Becker got its leadoff batter on base in the eighth, this time by Angelo issuing his second walk of the contest to TJ Sempkowski.

Right away, Sempkowski attempted to steal second base to get into scoring position for Becker, and the Mountaineers allowed the senior to get all the way to third base as SVC catcher Dan Mason's throw was airmailed into center field.

Two batters later stood Niko Bedell, who already hit a two-run home run off Angelo in the fourth inning to tie the game at 3-3. Bedell got the best of Angelo again in the at-bat, this time shooting a base hit into left field to knock in Sempkowski from third to give Becker the lead.

Angelo limited the damage to just one, finishing with the game with four runs earned on 12 hits and five strikeouts in his complete game performance on the hill.

Down one, the Mountaineers came up empty in the bottom half of the inning as Mason grounded into a double play to end the game, giving Becker game one of the doubleheader.

"We competed all game long, but we let Becker off the hook in couple spots during the game," Gage said. "We have to get better at swinging the bats right now and continue to compete."

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The Mountaineers didn't have much luck in Game 2 of the doubleheader either, as Becker scored a 7-3 win over the SVC to earn the sweep.

Becker scored a pair of runs in the first inning and then had three batters cross home plate in the second to gain an early 5-0 lead on SVC.

The Mountaineers came back in third inning with a three spot of their own to cut Becker's lead to two.

The Hawks answered with a run in both the fifth and sixth innings to extend their lead to four and kept the SVC bats at bay to improve to 14-14 on the season.

Both Zack Stacey and Mercuri each had an RBI in the loss.

With the two losses, SVC drops to 7-19 on the season and 5-4 in conference play.

SVC will next gear up for another NECC doubleheader, this time hosting Elms on Saturday.

Reach sports editor Steven Bassin at 802-447-7567 ext 112 or @SBassin_Banner


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