Springfield, Mass. - April 5, 2019 - In a game that came down to the final innings, the Springfield College baseball team dropped a contest to Coast Guard, 9-7, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) West Division series opener at a snowy Archie Allen Field on Friday.
With the loss the Pride falls to 11-10 on the year and 3-4 in conference play while the Bears improve to 13-8 overall with a record of 3-4 against league opponents.
Sophomore Noah Bleakley (Granby, Mass.), graduate student Mark Joao (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), and sophomore Jack Cooney (Pittsfield, Mass.) highlighted the day for the Pride, as Joao notched four hits including a pair of infield singles, while Cooney reached base five times with a run scored and Bleakley driving home four.
Starter Brian Johnson (East Haddam, Conn.) got into some mid-game trouble and finished with a line of 5.0 innings, one earned run, and six punch outs. Zach Kerr (Niskayuna, N.Y.) came on in relief of Johnson and struck out four over 4.0 innings of work, followed by Jacob Shpur (East Canaan, Conn.), who would surrender two runs and be charged with the eventual loss for the Pride.
Springfield got into some early trouble when a walk and two singles loaded the bases for Coast Guards five hitter with one out in the first. Johnson was able to evade the early trouble when he induced an infield pop up and struck a batter out looking to end the threat in the first.
Following up Johnson's efforts in the top of the inning, a trio of singles would start a rally for the Pride offensively in the bottom half of the frame. Bleakley would then step up to the plate and clear the bases with a hard-hit line drive that would reach the wall and place the sophomore on third base with the Pride up 3-0. Jake Gleason (South Dennis, Mass.) was able to drive in Bleakley with a ground ball and improve Springfield's lead to 4-0 after one.
Both teams were kept off the board for the second and third inning and Johnson was able to set the Bears down in the fourth with little resistance and help from Alex Denoyelle (Woonsocket, R.I.), who threw out a potential base stealer to end the top of the fourth. The Pride would tack on another run on a Denoyelle line-drive single to left that scored Jack Simonetty (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) to give Springfield a five-run cushion after four full frames.
Coast Guard would climb back into the game in the fifth inning when a double down the left-field line paved the way for the Bears to have second and third situation with one out. The Bears would go on to plate a pair and load the bases with two outs until a grounder through the right side would bring across two more, making the game 5-4. A line drive over the head of the center fielder would be the difference maker in the frame for the Bears as a triple was able to give Coast Guard a 7-5 lead following a seven-run inning.
Springfield started the bottom of the seventh with the top of the order and would all reach safely to load the bases for Bleakley. A hard grounder plated Brandon Russo (Lisbon, Conn.) and pulled the Pride within one of the Bears. Solid pitching by Coast Guard helped keep the game 7-6 Bears after seven full innings of play. Joao would bring the Pride back into the game when he beat out an infield single, scoring Russo, and tying the game up at 7-7 with two outs in the eighth.
After Gleason started off the ninth inning with a walk, a bunt would move pinch runner Conor Santoianni (Stormville, N.Y.) to second. An infield single would allow the potential winning run to pull in just 90 feet away but a hard-hit grounder to third would end the scoring chance and the inning, sending the game into extras. Coast Guard would get a pair of runners on in the top of the 10th inning before a triple to right center plated two and proved to be the difference maker in the loss for Springfield.
The Pride will continue NEWMAC play when it travels to Coast Guard for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 6, which will begin at 12 p.m.
For the latest on Springfield College Athletics, follow the Pride on social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Springfield "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.