New Bedford, Mass. - The Vermont Mountaineers could not hold leads of 4-1 and 6-5 as the New Bedford Bay Sox came from behind twice for a 8-7 win at Paul Walsh Field on Sunday afternoon in New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action. It was the third straight loss for Vermont (6-8) and their fourth in the last five games.
A game that started off quickly saw Colton Cross give up a leadoff walk in the top of the first before reitring eight in a row. He eventually went five no-hit innings pacing New Bedford.
The Bay Sox (9-5) pushed a run across in the bottom of the second as they loaded the bases with nobody out against starter Zach Varela (Lake Elsinore, Calif./UC Riverside). Zack Graczyk hit a bounding ball to second base that scored a run and put runners at the corners before a walk loaded them once again. Varela was then able to get back to back outs to get out of the inning with minimal damage.
Vermont would get runners on base in the fifth when PJ Jones was hit by a pitch from Cross with one out. He later reached third on an error by third baseman Zach Stone and a fielders choice from Michael White before scoring on a balk call to tie the game at 1-1. The Mountaineers were happy to see Cross exit after five innings and rallied against reliever John Massad in the sixth. Logan Pierce (Troy, Ala./Troy) worked a one out walk and stole second before scoring on Greg Partyka's RBI double to take a lead. Partyka (Bartlett, Ill./Bradley) then touched home on a Johnny Mishu (Nashville, Tenn./Princeton) single. Mishu then stole both second and third and was plated on a Jones (Vancouver, Wash./Washington State) RBI groundout to take a 4-1 lead.
Despite the three run advantage, relief pitcher Corey MacDonald struggled in the sixth after he loaded the bases with one out. Carl Anderson then hammered a pitch down the left field line for a bases clearing, game-tying double. MacDonald would get out of the inning after an error from Ricky Boas kept it alive momentarily.
In the top of the seventh, New Bedford reliever Ty Walker retired the first two batters in order. Rob Kelly (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Saint Anslem) hit a sharp ground ball to first baseman Alex Black whose flip was bobbled by Walker allowing Kelly to reach. That opened the door for the Mountaineers as Pierce singled to put runners on first and second with two outs. An error by second baseman Evan King plated Kelly and put runners on the corners in a 5-5 game. Partyka then broke for second and on the throw down, Pierce raced home and scored as catcher Andy Lalli could not hold on to the ball giving Vermont a 6-5 advantage.
New Bedford however would not be denied as Alex Baldock launched a leadoff homer in the bottom of the seventh off Steve Ostapeck to tie the game once again. Ostapeck (Sacremento, Calif./Villanova) then retired three in a row to get out of the inning. The Bay Sox would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth as Baldock again laced a two out single off Ostapeck to push New Bedford ahead 8-6.
Trailing by two, the Mountaineers attempted to get on the comeback trail after a leadoff single from Michael White (East Orange, N.J./Louisville). White was retired at second base on a fielders choice from Aaron Barbosa (Dracut, Mass./Northeastern). After Kelly was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with one out, Brian O'Grady (Warminster, Pa./Rutgers) pinch ran for him and was part of a double steal to put the tying runs in scoring position. A Logan Pierce RBI groundout got Vermont within one but Greg Partyka grounded out weakly to second base to end the game.
Varela went five innings giving up one run on six hits while Cross pitched five no-hit innings giving up one run for New Bedford. Ty Walker (2-0) got the win going three innings allowing three runs, one earned, on two hits in the contest. Meanwhile Ostapeck (0-2) picked up the loss pitching two innings in relief giving up three runs, one earned, on three hits.
Vermont returns to action on Monday June 25 when they travel to Newport, R.I. to take on the Gulls. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. and all the action can be earned live on ESPN 1240, WSKI and online at www.thevermontmountaineers.com.
Game Notes: The Mountaineers stole nine bases as a team giving them a league leading 59 on the season...Aaron Barbosa stole one base giving him 13 on the season...Rob Kelly reached on an error and hit by pitch to extend his on-base streak to eleven consecutive games.
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