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Baseball Drops Last Two Contests in Phoenix; Finishes Trip 5-3

Mike Micik Phoenix, Ariz. -- March 20, 2011 -- The Springfield College baseball team completed an overall successful spring break trip at the RussMatt Greater Phoenix Invitational in Arizona with a 5-3 record, although it lost its final three games. The final two games saw the Pride fall to Eastern Connecticut State, 22-4, on Friday and to St. John's of Minnesota, 6-5, in 14 innings on Saturday.

Highlighting the trip was SC's 5-0 start -- its longest winning streak to start a season in 40 years, or since the 1971 team began 9-0. Also highlighting the trip was the play of senior outfielder and captain John Schmaltz (Cromwell, Conn.), who early in the week had a consecutive hit streak of 12 straight in as many plate appearances. Last Sunday, Schmaltz singled in his last at-bat in the doubleheader victory over Macalester, then added six straight hits in the 7-5 win over Wisconsin-Lacrosse on Monday, before adding five more hits in the 16-5 win over Augsburg on Tuesday. The 12 straight hits ranked Schmaltz fourth all-time in NCAA Division III history.

In the loss to Eastern Connecticut, SC actually took a 1-0 lead after one inning. But ECSU then scored the next 16 runs. That included three in the second, three in the fifth, and 10 in the sixth.

The Pride notched two in the bottom of the sixth, but ECSU added three in the seventh and three more in the ninth. SC had scored one more in the eighth. Junior Karl Quist (New Preston, Conn.) went 3-for-4 in this game, plus one run scored and one RBI. One of his hits included a triple.

Senior lefthander Mark Grant (Danbury, Conn.), the first of four SC pitchers, took the loss. Eastern finished with 24 hits, while SC had 13 hits, playing errorless ball. The Pride was 5-2 following this game.

In the game on Saturday, SC certainly had its opportunities to win. SC had a 4-3 lead entering the bottom of the ninth, and a 5-4 lead entering the bottom of the 11th, before dropping the game, 6-5, on a leadoff home run by St. John's centerfielder Matt Boys in the bottom of the 14th.

St. John's took a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the third, before the Pride scored four times in the top of the fourth. St. John's scored twice more in the sixth, and trailed 4-3 in the ninth.

Junior righthander Greg Marakovits (Rocky Hill, Conn.) surrendered seven hits and three runs in 6.0 innings. He struck out seven and walked three. Junior lefthander Adam DeFelice (Avon, Conn.) gave up just one run on five hits in 5.0 innings, striking out one and walking one. Freshman righhander Travis Lane (Canton, Conn.) gave up one hit in the 12th and 13th innings before giving up a leadoff homerun in the bottom of the 14th.

Third baseman Michael Micik (Greenwich, Conn.) had two of SC's 11 hits in this game. He also knocked in one run and scored one.

Up next, Springfield plays at Babson to begin its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference portion of the season on Tuesday at 3:30 pm.

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