SVC victorious in home opener
BENNINGTON >> Home sweet home it was for the Southern Vermont College baseball team.
Coming into their home opener on Wednesday losers of eight straight, the Mountaineers looked to find some home cooking to help them get back on the winning track.
They found that by coming back from a five-run deficit to defeat New England Collegiate Conference rival Mitchell 13-9 for their fourth win of the season.
After Mitchell scored four runs in the top of the seventh to take a 9-4 lead, the Mountaineers' comeback began.
With the first two SVC base runners getting on to start the bottom of the seventh inning, senior second baseman RJ Pingitore got the Mountaineers rally started by hitting a single up the middle for a RBI to make it a 9-5 game.
After SVC scored a run on a wild pitch to make it 9-6, shortstop John Arancio smacked an RBI single to right field and all of a sudden the Mountaineers' deficit was down to two.
"I think we really started to simplify our approach at the plate and it helped us get good timely hits," said SVC coach Dave Gage. "Guys were hitting singles and getting ahead in counts and taking advantage of it finding ways to get on base."
With no outs still and runners on first and third, SVC continued their rally by again scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Mitchell reliever Axel De Jesus, who coming into the game had only walked one batter all season, and now the Mountaineers now only trailed by one.
Down one now, SVC continued to use small ball to their advantage.
Trying to get the run in from third to tie the game, left fielder Luigi Magliocca placed a picture perfect bunt in between the pitcher and third baseman for a hit and RBI to tie the game at 9-9.
"The bunt situation was on for me and my job is to get the run home from third and that's all I tried to do," Magliocca said. "When you have a runner on third with less then two outs, you've got to get him and I am happy I was able to do that."
That wasn't the only time Magliocca came through with a bunt to get a run in for SVC, as the sophomore had another RBI bunt single in fourth inning, giving two RBI bunt singles in the game to go along with his three hits on the afternoon from the nine hole in the lineup.
With the game now tied, the Mountaineers once again took advantage of a ball the dirt that got past Mitchell catcher Markus Melendez to score a run and for the first time in the game, SVC had the lead.
That lead continued to grow for SVC when right fielder Niko D'Agnese smacked one to the gap in the left center for a two RBI double to make it a 12-9 lead for the Mountaineers.
In total, SVC scored eight runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the lead.
"That inning really showed that our team is really resilient" Gage said. "It would have been really easy for us to give up after Mitchell had that four run inning in the top of the seventh, but we battled back and responded by having an even bigger inning of our own in the bottom half to take the lead and I was very happy to see that from our team.
Now suddenly with a three run lead in hand, SVC turned to their closer Chris Bradt to shut the door on the game and Bradt did just that, by holding Mitchell scoreless in the eighth inning.
Later in the bottom of the eighth inning, SVC and Bradt got an insurance run when Arancio hit an opposite field bomb for his first home run of the season to give the Mountaineers a four run cushion.
Arancio had a game-high four hits on the afternoon for SVC and now has a team leading 17 hits on the season.
"Felt good to hit a home run and have a great day on the field to help the team win," Arancio said. "It was great to see us rally back from being down and it's great winning your home opener."
Bradt then sealed the deal for the Mountaineers by pitching a scoreless ninth inning to help him pick up his second save of the year and give SVC their first NECC conference win of the season.
Picking up the win for the Mountaineers in his one inning of work was reliever Ryan Richards, who is now 1-1 on the season.
Starter Dylan Angelo did a good job keeping SVC in the game by pitching six strong innings, giving up runs on 10 hits and striking out seven Mitchell batters.
"This was a great win for us," Gage said. "We beat one of the top teams in our conference and I think this win will show the guys that we can compete with anybody within our conference. Also, you always want win your home opener and to have a comeback victory like we had in front of our hometown fans was great as well."
With the win SVC improves to 4-11 on the season and snaps a season-high eight game losing streak.
The Mountaineers want to make it two conference wins in a row when they travel to play Daniel Webster on Friday at 3 p.m.
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