Keene, N.H. - The Vermont Mountaineers scored four runs in the top of the ninth but left the tying run on second base as they fell 8-7 to the Keene Swamp Bats (18-4) in New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action on Friday night. The loss was the Mountaineers (10-11) second in a row and dropped the team to below .500 on the season.
Keene began the scoring in the bottom of the second inning when Cammeron O'Brien scored on a wild pitch from starter Zach Varela (Wildomar, Calif./UC Riverside). Nelson Ward would follow with an RBI single to plate Dylan Moore making it 2-0 Swamp Bats. They added another run in the third on JP Sportman's solo homerun before stranding runners at first and second.
In the top of the fourth, Vermont began to chip away, loading the bases with one out. After Austin Green struck out, Cole Peragine hit a single down the right field line scoring two lines and cutting the deficit to 3-2. However, Matt McAllister would be unable to hold the Swamp Bats at bay in the home half of the inning as Ward singled with two outs and advanced to second on a walk. Ward would then try to steal third and score when Green (San Diego, Calif./San Diego) threw the ball into left field.
The Swamp Bats tacked on another unearned run in the bottom of the fifth as Frankie Schwindel reached to begin the frame on a throwing error from Peragine (Vernon Hills, Ill./Stony Brook) and scored on a single from Dylan DelaCruz. McAllister (Warminster, Pa./West Chester) pitched three innings in relief giving up two unearned runs on three hits.
Keene starter Ryan Horstman pitched well in his starting debut going five innings giving up two runs on five hits while striking out five. He gave way to David Mahoney who pitched in and out of trouble giving up a run in the seventh when Greg Partyka (Bartlett, Ill./Bradley) singled and later scored on a double play ball.
In the bottom of the eighth, Kyle Grana (St. Louis, Mo./Bellarmine) struck out the lead off man but gave up a single and an error to put runners on first and second with one out. Dylan Moore then blasted a three run shot, seemingly putting the game out of reach.
Vermont would begin the comeback trail in the ninth as Peragine singled and stole second to lead things off. With one out, Aaron Barbosa (Dracut, Mass./Northeastern) singled him home as the Mountaineers reeled off four straight one out hits including an RBI single from Rob Kelly (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Saint Anslem) and RBI double from Brian O'Grady (Warminster, Pa./Rutgers) to make it 8-6 Keene. Ryan Karl (Towaco, N.J./Louisville) grounded out to third but brought a run home to get Vermont within one at 8-7. With the tying run on second, Johnny Mishu (Nashville, Tenn./Princeton) hit a bounding ball up the middle that was stabbed by the second baseman Grant Kay who threw to first to end the game.
Varela (1-1) took the loss going three innings giving up three runs on seven hits while Horstman (3-0) got the win allowing just two runs on five hits.
Vermont is back in action on Saturday July 7, when they wrap up a three game road trip in Danbury, Conn. to take on the Westerners. The game begins at 6:30 p.m. and can be heard live on ESPN 1240, WSKI and online at www.thevermontmountaineers.com