Baseball opens NESCAC play with 4-3 victory at Colby

Junior Connor Speed earned the victory as Bates won its NESCAC opener 4-3 at Colby on March 30, 2017. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

WATERVILLE, Maine -- Behind timely pitching from junior starter Connor Speed and junior reliever Jake Shapiro, the Bates College baseball team sweated out a 4-3 victory Thursday at Colby College, in the NESCAC East Division opener for both teams.

Colby (3-8, 0-1 NESCAC) left 11 runners stranded while Bates (5-5, 1-0 NESCAC) left nine men on base in the game. The rivals totaled eight hits apiece.

Speed (San Diego, Calif.) dueled with effective Colby starter Brooks Parker, allowing three runs (two earned) over 7 2/3 innings, and skating around seven hits and five walks while striking out nine Mules. 

Parker gave up all four Bates runs (two earned) on six hits and one walk over five innings, striking out seven Bobcats. Relievers Will Cohen, Emery Dinsmore and Jackson Ward held Bates scoreless over the final four innings.

After limiting Colby to two baserunners from the third inning through the seventh, Speed, holding a 4-2 lead, gave up a leadoff double to Ryan Arsenault, who came home on a two-out double by Keenan Iuliano. Colby kept the inning going as Tyler Mulberry drew a walk, and Bates head coach Jon Martin summoned senior lefthander Matt Doyle (Northborough, Mass.) to face Noah Tocci. Tocci loaded the bases with a walk, and Doyle gave way to Shapiro (Sandy, Utah), who struck out Matt Mitchell swinging to escape the inning with the 4-3 lead intact.

Bates seniors Ryan McCarthy (Plaistow, N.H.) and Brendan Fox (West Hartford, Conn.) both singled to lead off the top of the ninth, but the Bobcats' bid for an insurance run ended with a double play and a groundout.

Shapiro returned to start the bottom of the ninth and walked leadoff hitter Matt Treveloni on four pitches. He then fielded Jackson Ward's bunt and threw out lead runner Treveloni at second base. Shapiro struck out Arsenault swinging for the second out, but Matt Garcia's single to right advanced Ward to third base. Shapiro then struck out Andrew Della Volpe swinging for the hard-earned save, the first of his career in his sixth career pitching appearance.

Colby scored single runs in the first and second innings, but Bates matched the Mules with two runs in the second. First-year catcher Jack Arend (Newfields, N.H.) hit a two-out double in the second to start the rally, and he scored on freshman Kyle Carter's (Plantation, Fla.) single. Junior Asher MacDonald (Hillsborough, N.C.) drew a walk and first-year Will Sylvia (Newton, Mass.) singled to score Carter, giving Bates a temporary 2-1 lead.

Colby loaded the bases with no outs in the second but was limited to one run in the inning. After Speed struckout Treveloni and Ward back-to-back, Arsenault singled home Mulberry to make it 2-2. But Fox, from the second base position, tracked down Garcia's blooper just inside the right-field line to end the inning.

Bates moved ahead 4-2 with two runs in the fifth. McCarthy reached on a throwing error by the third baseman Iuliano, and Fox followed with a single. Senior Brendon Canavan (Carlisle, Mass.) and senior John Dinucci (West Hartford, Conn.) drove home McCarthy and Fox, respectively, with singles off of Parker before the Colby starter stranded Bates' final two baserunners.

Fox batted 2-for-5, and was the lone Bobcat with multiple hits. Arend's double was Bates' only extra-base hit. Arsenault and Garcia were both 2-for-5 with RBIs for the Mules.

With Leahey Field not yet ready for its first game, Bates' home doubleheader against Colby will now be played at Colby on Sunday, to avoid Saturday's forecasted bad weather. First pitch is scheduled for 12pm.