FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Lasell College baseball team fell victim to a six-run eighth inning in a 7-1 loss to Southern Vermont College on Sunday at the Gene Cusic Classic in non-conference action at Terry Park. The Lasers drop to 2-3 on the year with the loss while Southern Vermont improved to 4-3 overall.
Senior first baseman Billy Uberti (Newton, Mass.) led Lasell at the bat, going 3-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Sophomore center fielder Rob Madden (Hingham, Mass.) was 2-5 with a run scored and another batted in, and sophomore third baseman Tyler Flaherty (Portland, Maine) had a 2-4 plate showing with a run scored and a stolen base.
Lasers sophomore righty Gary Trotteir (Rehobeth, Mass.) has a strong outing in his first collegiate start, giving up just one run on two hits and two walks in six innings of work, striking out four on the day. Sophomore right-hander Jake Malone (Harwich, Mass.) suffered the loss (0-1), allowing the six runs in the eighth; he gave up four hits and four walks in his 1.2 innings of work.
SVC junior designated hitter Cody LaBadia (Howes Cave, N.Y.) was 2-4 with a walk and two RBIs, those being the game-tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the eighth. Junior captain Sal Sciara (Massapequa, N.Y.) had a walk and two hit by pitches, his eighth and ninth of the season, while scoring a run and stealing a base; he is now the fifth all-time Mountaineer in career hit by pitches with 22. Junior captain Chris Nicastro Jr. (Kenilworth, N.J.) had two stolen bases, an RBI and a run scored on the day while sophomore third baseman Quinten Scott (Ashaway, R.I.) went 1-3 with an RBI and run scored.
Mountaineer freshman Joshua Hay (South Glens Falls, N.Y.) went the distance for the complete-game win to move to 2-0 on the year from the rubber. With Southern Vt. slated to play two nine-inning games Monday, Hay was able to help preserve the rest of the Mountaineer pitching staff by throwing 151 pitches in the nine innings of work, giving up six runs (five earned) on 11 hits and three walks. He struck out nine Lasers batters on the day, four on called-third strikes.
Lasell jumped out to an early lead with a run in the first as Madden singled through the right side, just out of the reach of sophomore second baseman RJ Pingitore (Amsterdam, N.Y.). He then moved up to second on a fielder's choice and was subsequently brought around to score on a hard-hit single up the middle by Uberti that just missed Hay's legs.
Southern Vt. threatened to have a big inning and put up early runs of its own in the bottom of the frame as the first two Mountaineers reached base, moving to second and third with no outs. After a strike out, LaBadia fouled off a handful of pitches in a tough at-bat before Trotteir got him to fan on a high heater. Nicastro then made solid contact, but it went right at freshman left fielder Brandon Valentin (Meriden, Conn.) to end the inning.
Hay started to really hit his spots in the top of the second after the first out came on a grounder to short; Nicastro's throw pulled sophomore first baseman Fabian Hance (Miami, Fla.) off the bag, but he was able to grab it and slap the tag for the out. Hay then threw a looping curve to paint the outside corner for the second out and retired the side two batters later on another called third strike on the outer edge of the plate.
The Mountaineers nearly tied it again in the second when they had runners on first and third and tried the double steal. Scott took off for second on the pitch, getting LC sophomore catcher Wes Hurty (Windsor, Conn.) to throw down. At that point, Hance, who started the action with a lead-off double, broke for home. Lasers freshman second baseman Hector Coscione (Newton, Mass.) ran in front of the bag and cut off the throw, firing home to retire Hance at the plate and end the inning.
Lasell added to its lead in the top of the third, first when Uberti blasted one to left-center to score senior right fielder Bobby Ellard (Medfield, Mass.) for his second RBI of the day. Coscione then hit the ball hard up the middle where Nicastro ranged to meet it, but the ball just glanced off his outstretched glove as Uberti made his way to score and put his team up 3-0.
Southern Vt. scratched across one of its own in the bottom of the frame without registering a hit. Sciara took his second pitch to the body to start things, and then moved up to second when sophomore left fielder Richard Rios (Pico Rivera, Calif.) laid down a bunt in a sacrifice attempt; he reached on an errant throw by Trotteir and then was pushed up with Sciara on an executed sac by Pingitore. Not wanting to face the hot-hitting LaBadia, Lasell chose to intentionally walk the junior, only to then walk Nicastro with the bases loaded to bring in the first Mountaineer run. A deep fly to right then saw Rios tag up from third, but Ellard gunned the ball straight in to Hurty who made the play to end the inning.
Neither team was able to make much happen through the next two innings of play as the two hurlers allowed a combined three base runners, one being Uberti on his third hit of the day.
That efficiency came to an end in the top of the sixth when Lasell added two more runs. Valentin worked a one-out walk and then moved to second on a legged-out single to third by Flaherty. A wild pitch allowed the runners to each advance a base, and Valentin then scored on a grounder to Pingitore who was playing back. Flaherty came around to score on the next at-bat with a Madden single to short and then moved up on a Mountaineer throwing error. SVC elected to then walk Ellard to create the force out at any base but home, despite Uberti being on deck. The decision paid dividends as Uberti grounded over to Scott who raced and beat Madden to the bag to retire the side.
Trotteir made quick work of SVC in the bottom of the sixth to close out his day, giving way for his offense to come right back to bat and tally another run on a passed ball for a 6-1 Lasers lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Mountaineers started to make things happen with a Sciara walk and then a bouncing single by Rios, but Malone induced the inning-ending grounder to short. Hay didn't stay out on the mound for too long in the top of the eighth, getting the Lasers to go down in order including a nice sweeping pick out of the dirt at first by Hance.
Southern Vt. came to bat with the five-run deficit, looking to get their second come-from-behind victory in as many days. LaBadia started things with just the fourth Mountaineer hit of the contest. He was erased, however, on a fielder's choice on the next at-bat. A pair of walks by Malone then brought up replacement sophomore catcher Ryan Schuette (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) with the pond full of ducks. He slapped a single the opposite way over Uberti's head to plate Nicastro, making it 6-2. Scott then chopped a high-bouncing single that climbed over Flaherty at third to bring in the third Mountaineer run and see the go-ahead run come up to bat.
Malone came a step closer to getting out of the jam with a strikeout, but he then walked Rios to plate another run and continue the inning before getting pulled. Pingitore then roped a 1-2 pitch to left field, scoring pinch-running freshman Nathan Cahoone (Westerly, R.I.) to make it a 6-5 ballgame. That brought up LaBadia with no empty bases to put him on. He didn't quite get all of it, but just made enough contact to drop the ball into shallow left field over jumping sophomore shortstop Dan Gagnon (Pomfret Center, Conn.) to bring around Scott for the tying run. Rios was not far behind and dove head-first for the dish, just making his way under the tag for what would be the winning run.
Hay returned to the mound to finish it off, working a pop-up to third and a strike out before getting a grounder to second for the final out of the game.
The Mountaineers will next play two nine-inning games Monday at the Ft. Myers Player Development Complex, first taking on St. Joseph's College Long Island at 10 a.m. and then the University of Dubuque at 1 p.m. Lasell continues its Gene Cusic Classic play Monday with a doubleheader against Plymouth State University starting at 10 a.m.