Worcester, MA – The Elms College baseball team defeated Clark University 5-4 on Saturday afternoon at Granger Field in their season opener.
The Cougars gained an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first off a doubled followed by a triple into the right centerfield gap to put the host in front.
Elms pulled even in the top of the second as a throwing error allowed Kyle Powell (Saratoga Springs, NY) to reach base before Josh Keaton (Northbridge, MA) brought him in with a two-out single into right centerfield.
The Blazers had a chance in the top of the fourth as they put the first two runners aboard to start the inning before a nicely placed sacrifice bunt from Austin Roy (Cromwell, CT) moved both into scoring position with one out. However, the visitors were not able to capitalize ending the inning with the 1-1 tie intact.
In the top of the fifth, Elms struck for three runs to snag a 4-1 lead with the damage in the inning coming from a two-out two-run homer to left field from Nathan Ayala (Springfield, MA).
Clark got a run back in the bottom of the seventh when off a solo homer to the deep part of the field, clearing the fence in left centerfield to make it a 4-2 deficit.
Elms recouped the run in the top of the ninth inning as a single from Josh Pasini (Enfield, CT) and a stolen base by the senior moved him into scoring position. Cam Griffin (West Springfield, MA) singled to bring in his teammate to give the Blazers a 5-2.
The Cougars made it interesting in the home-half of the ninth after a lead-off single put the first runner aboard before a knock through the infield loaded up the bases.
Later in the inning, a single brought home a pair of Cougars to make it a one-run game, but the comeback attempt fell short one batter later when Griffin made a spectacular game saving diving catch for the final out of the game.
Clark finished the game with eight hits to 12 from Elms with the host leaving seven on base to that of nine from the visiting Blazers.
For Elms, senior Kevin Banas (Hatfield, MA) put forth a strong seven innings of work, only allowing two earned runs on five hits and striking out five. Offensively, the Blazers were led by three-hit efforts from both Pasini and Ayala, including a two-run homer from Ayala.
This also marks the first collegiate coaching win for first year coach John Raiola.
The Blazers are back in action on Sunday 1PM when they take on Western New England University at Trinity College.