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7-Run Fifth Inning Gives Sanford Necessary Cushion in Dramatic Affair with Martha's Vineyard

June 11, 2024 - New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL)
Sanford Mainers News Release

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. - On Sunday night in Vermont, the middle innings proved problematic for the Sanford Mainers. On Monday night, the middle of the middle innings was the difference maker for Sanford in an 8-6 victory over Martha's Vineyard.

Matt Miceli (Stony Brook) started the game with a walk against Sharks' starter Brian Young (Rider). The next batter, Jared Davis (Virginia Tech), doubled to bring in Miceli, who had advanced to second after an error by Martha's Vineyard during a pickoff attempt.

Working with a 1-0 lead, Connor Ball (Alabama) took to the mound for Sanford in the bottom of the first inning. Ball worked into and out of trouble in both the first and second innings, stranding three combined runners on base, all of which were in scoring position.

The Sharks got to Ball in the third though as a ground ball off the bat of Andrew Yu (Duke) became a fielder's choice, scoring Brayden Martin (Maryland), who had reached base in the same fashion as Yu.

Martha's Vineyard got the best of Ball again in the fourth as J.D. Suarez (Charleston), Demitri Diamant (Georgia Tech) and Martin each had a two-out single. Martin's base knock brought home Suarez to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead, which was their first lead of the season.

Martha's Vineyard did not hold that lead for long, however, as the Mainers' bats came alive a half inning later.

Mateo Hernandez (Austin Peay) kicked the inning off with the Mainers' third double of the contest. Two batters later, Miceli, who scored on Sanford's first double of the game, hit a two-bagger of his own that brought home Hernandez to tie that game at two.

Miceli's double proved to be the end of the line for Young on the bump, but his final line was not finalized as Dante Pavone (Bucknell) took over out of the bullpen.

After Pavone got Davis to ground out, he hit Devan Bade (Binghamton) with a pitch to keep the inning going. That proved to be costly as C.J. Willis (Quinnipiac), who was named to the NECBL Weekly Honor Roll earlier in the day, recorded his second hit of the game in the form of an RBI single that scored Miceli.

Willis' single was followed by Devan Kodali (Vanderbilt) getting hit by a pitch to load the base. Two pitches later, Ryan Kolben (UMass Amherst) became the third Mainer to get hit by a pitch in the inning. Kolben's hit-by-pitch drove home Bade and put Sanford ahead 4-2.

Nic Lops then elected to go to a pinch hitter with the bases loaded and a new lead. That pinch hitter, Corbin Lanowitz (UNC Asheville) delivered a two-run single to put the Moose ahead 6-2.

Lanowitz was the ninth batter to come to the plate in the inning and his single brought Hernandez back to the plate for the second time in the inning. The third baseman promptly unloaded his second hit of the inning, which drove home Kodali for the five-run advantage.

Nathan Barksdale (Austin Peay) put the finishing touch on the inning as he put another run across the board with an RBI base knock of his own.

Chris Gallagher (Purdue) kept the 8-2 lead intact as he worked into and out of trouble in the bottom of the fifth inning to strand two runners in scoring position. The same could not be said for Gallagher's second inning out of the bullpen though.

Suarez, who reached on a leadoff double before advancing to third on a wild pitch, scored on a ground ball hit by Diamant. Suarez was the third run for the Sharks as it became an 8-3 ballgame.

The Sharks could not trim their deficit any further against Jackson Walsh (Wheaton) in the seventh despite loading the bases. Walsh induced a ground ball off the bat of Suarez that he took himself to first base to escape trouble after yielding a walk and two singles.

In the eighth, Martha's Vineyard struck for two runs against Aidan Colagrande (Fairfield). The first run came off a single from William Lybrook (Harvard) before a double by Scott Seeker (Mount St. Mary's) scored the second.

Luke Brown (Clemson) kept the Sanford bats quiet in his fourth inning of work out of the bullpen. Brown, who took over after the seven-run fifth inning, allowed just one hit while recording 12 outs in relief.

After the scoreless top of the ninth, Conner Griffin (Binghamton) came on in the save situation in the bottom of the ninth. Griffin answered the call immediately with back-to-back strikeouts of Griffin Mills (Northwestern) and Cole Mascolo (Elon).

The right-handed pitcher then issued three walks in a row to load the bases. The third of which came on a 3-2 pitch and brought Lops out of the dugout.

After Lops met with Griffin at the mound, a passed ball allowed Ty Waid (Arkansas) to score in the next at-bat.

Griffin bounced back after the passed ball and got Martin, who served as the winning run, to pop out to Davis at second base

The Mainers have Tuesday off before hitting the road for the sixth time as they head to Keene for another battle with the SwampBats.

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New England Collegiate Baseball League Stories from June 11, 2024

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