BENNINGTON -- The Southern Vermont College baseball team spotted Lesley University two runs in the first inning during the second game of the teams' doubleheader on Saturday, but the Mountaineers were able to turn things around over the final six innings with some timely hitting and a few lucky breaks to take a 6-3 victory and a 2-1 series win at Bill Epstein Field.
After splitting the first two games of the series, a 14-2 SVC win on Friday and a 8-7 Lesley win early on Saturday, the Lynx struck in the first inning of game three with RBI-singles by Tyler Plourd and Mike Slaby to take the early lead.
But the Mountaineers, who nearly battled back from an 8-1 hole in game one, got the bats going in the second inning.
"I think the end of the first game, that's what allowed us to play well in the second game," coach Dave Gage said. "We just spotted them five runs [in the first game], that's tough to come back from."
The first Mountaineer run came when freshman Nate Cahoone hit into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded, bringing across junior Cody LaBadia, then sophomore Richard Rios brought in another run with a basehit to right field, scoring sophomore Quinten Scott. On the hit, freshman Dylan Angelo tried following Scott for a second run, but the Lynx worked the cutoff throw to perfection to get Angelo tagged out at home.
It would only take another inning, though, before the Mountaineers got their third run.
In the third, LaBadia smacked an RBI double to center field to give SVC its first lead of the day.
"I think our lineup is well balanced, and it allows us to get going all over," said Gage, who saw RBI hits come from the top and bottom of his batting order in the game. "We don't have to score from the top of the lineup. Whoever we have coming up, we know we have a chance to score."
After a quiet fourth inning, the fifth inning turned out to be the decisive at-bats for the two sides.
In the top of the fifth, Lesley tied the game up when Casey Blanchard hit into a double play with the bases loaded, allowing the runner on third to score. Plourd came up next and thought he hit an RBI single to make it 4-3, reaching first at the same time the throw came to LaBadia on the bag. The umpire originally ruled Plourd as safe.
Gage, though, was not convinced with the call and took his cause to the field as he discussed the call with the pair of umpires. After a quick conference, Plourd was ruled out to end the inning.
"At this angle, [LaBadia] didn't move his foot off the base," said SVC senior pitcher Kurt Kowalczyk. "At this angle, I was for sure he was out. When they called him safe I didn't know what to think."
The call would prove critical in the bottom of the inning, as LaBadia legged out an infield single, just beating the throw, and scored what turned out to be the winning run as he was brought around on a single by Scott two batters later.
"[The inning] was a big momentum swing," Gage said. "In the bottom of the fifth we beat out an infield single with two outs, and then we scored to go ahead. That was a huge inning both ways, defensively and offensively."
Chris Nicastro Jr. and Rios both added RBI knocks in he sixth inning to give SVC two insurance runs, while Kowalczyk finished the complete game with two four-out innings in the sixth and seventh.
"I owe [the win] to my team. Last time I came out, the didn't give me anything. This time, they gave me run support. It helps to pitch with a lead," said Kowalczyk, who improved to 2-2 on the year while allowing the three runs and striking out three. Ryan Genua took the loss for Lesley, pitching all six innings for the Lynx.
In game one of the doubleheader, Lesley jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first and an 8-1 advantage in the third. SVC battled back, adding runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth, but it was not enough to get the win.
The Mountaineers now sit at 11-16 on the year and 5-7 in the New England Collegiate Conference. Lesley moves to 7-10 overall and 6-5 in the league. SVC sits fifth in the conference, one spot out of the playoff picture while Lesley sits two games above SVC in third place. SVC returns to action today against Daniel Webster College at home.