SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (April 22, 2007) – Jamie Mackie legged out a chopper with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to score the winning run from third and help the Springfield College baseball team defeat Wesleyan, 6-5, this afternoon in a thrilling non-conference game at SC’s Berry-Allen Field.
With the win, Springfield is now 9-17 overall, while Wesleyan falls to 11-16. The game was a see-saw affair with each team leading twice during the contest.
With the score tied at 5-5, sophomore left-hander Dusty Mones (Trumbull, Conn.) entered the game for Wesleyan to start the bottom of the ninth. Sophomore first baseman Ryan Tatreau (Greenfield, Mass.), who had been 3-for-3 to this point, led off with a walk. Sophomore Drew Michael (Longmeadow, Mass.), who had started the game in center-field, but then came on to pitch in the eighth, hit what appeared to be a perfect double play ball to short. But the ball went squarely through the shortstop’s legs. Mones then bore down and struck out the next two batters.
Freshman Joey Kropa (Cranford, N.J.) then worked a walk to load the bases for SC, bringing sophomore shortstop Mackie (Springfield, Mass.) to the plate. Finally, on a 2-2 pitch, Mackie chopped one down the third-base line, forcing junior Daniel Poniatowski (Castro Valley, Calif.), who had played a great game defensively, to make a hurried throw to first. The low-thrown ball and batter arrived at the same time, with the first baseman not able to field the ball cleanly, and the winning run scored.
It was Mackie’s fourth hit. The sophomore was on base five times (he had also reached on an error) for the game.
The game was scoreless entering the top of the fifth as a pair of senior starters – Wesleyan’s Kyle Lee (Milton, Mass.) and Springfield’s Derek Hodder (Hamden, Conn.) – were sailing along. In the top of that inning, the Cardinals tallied twice, on consecutive RBI-singles by sophomore second baseman Drew Dominguez (Braintree, Mass.) and freshman shortstop Brice Kelly (Austin, Tex.).
But Springfield struck back with three in the bottom of the fifth. All three runs were unearned, scoring on an error, a ground out, and an RBI-single by Tatreau.
The Pride added one in the sixth inning. Senior outfielder Kyle Pearce (Scotia, N.Y.) singled with one out, moved up on a ground out, and then scored on a double by Mackie. That gave SC a 4-2 lead.
Kelly singled home a run in the seventh for Wesleyan, cutting the margin to 4-3.
The Cardinals then took a 5-4 lead in the top of the eighth as senior first baseman Alex Mautone (Hazlet, N.J.) hit a clutch two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded.
But SC managed to come right back in the bottom of the eighth to tie matters at 5-all. Kropa led off by being hit by a pitch. He went to second on a wild pitch, then to third on a sharp single by Mackie. He came home on a sacrifice fly to right by senior outfielder Chris Stack (Albany, N.Y.).
That set up Mackie’s heroics in the bottom of the ninth. The winning pitcher was Michael, who came on in the eighth inning for SC. In 1 and 2/3 innings, he allowed no runs on two hits, striking out one and walking three. In the top of the ninth, Wesleyan had put runners on second and third with one out. But the Cardinals could not get a squeeze bunt down, and Michael eventually tagged the runner out at the plate following a rundown. Michael is now 1-0. The loser was Mones (0-4).
Lee, the starter for Wesleyan, perhaps deserved a better fate. In seven innings, he gave up seven hits and four runs, only one of which was earned. He struck out three and walked four.
Two players for SC had seven of the team’s nine hits. Mackie had four, including two doubles. Tatreau finished 3-for-3 with one double, plus two walks.
For Wesleyan, four players had two hits apiece. They were Kelly, Mautone, senior catcher Chris Graceffa (Waltham, Mass.), and senior center-fielder Rob Coughlin (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.). Wesleyan had 12 hits in all.
Springfield will host Amherst Monday at 4 pm in a make-up game. SC plans to honor its eight seniors on that occasion. Wesleyan next plays on Wednesday when it hosts Eastern Connecticut at 3:30 pm.