Baseball defeats Bowdoin 3-2 on Fox's walk-off single in the 10th

Senior captain Brendan Fox drove in the winning run against Bowdoin in the 10th inning on Friday, April 7, 2017. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

WATERVILLE, Maine -- Bowdoin scored a run in the ninth to force extra innings but senior captain Brendan Fox singled home first-year Will Sylvia in the bottom of the 10th to propel the Bates baseball team to a 3-2 victory over the Polar Bears Friday afternoon. 

With one away in the bottom of the 10th and the game tied at two, Sylvia (Newton, Mass.) drew his third walk of the game. Then with two down, first-year Jack Arend (Newfields, N.H.) drew a walk to move Sylvia into scoring position. Fox (West Hartford, Conn.) stepped to the plate and lined a single to left. Sylvia scored from second and the Bobcats (8-5, 4-0 NESCAC) celebrated the victory in a dogpile between home and the pitcher's mound.

Junior Connor Speed (San Diego, Calif.) delivered an outstanding performance on the mound in a no-decision. He tossed eight innings, allowing only two runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out six. 

Speed was matched nearly pitch-by-pitch by Bowdoin (6-10, 0-1 NESCAC) lefty Max Vogel-Freedman. Vogel-Freedman also finished with a no-decision, going eight innings, giving up two runs, both unearned, on three hits. He walked two and struck out eight.

Senior Brendon Canavan (Carlisle, Mass.) reached on an error to start the bottom of the second. Senior John Dinucci (West Hartford, Conn.) got hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with no outs.

One out later, first-year Kyle Carter (Plantation, Fla.) singled to right, driving in Canavan for the first run of the game for either team. Dinucci advanced to third on the hit.

Junior Asher MacDonald (Hillsborough, N.C.) hit a liner to center. Bowdoin's Brandon Lopez made the catch and fired home. Dinucci slid head first into home and was ruled safe when Polar Bear catcher Colby Joncas got called for blocking the plate. The MacDonald sacrifice fly gave Bates a 2-0 lead.

Speed worked a perfect third and a perfect fourth inning. He got out of a jam thanks to a huge 6-4-3 double play in the fifth. But in the sixth, the Polar Bears managed to push across a run.

With one away, Joncas and Sawyer Billings tallied back-to-back singles. Then with two away, a walk loaded the bases. Joncas scored when a Speed pitch missed too far inside, going to the backstop for a wild pitch, trimming the Bobcat lead to 2-1.

Dinucci doubled to lead off the bottom of the sixth but got caught stealing. Bates didn't get another runner on base until the 10th. 

Meanwhile Speed retired the side in order in the seventh and Bates turned a sweet 3-6-3 double play to end the eighth. 

Speed started the ninth inning in an attempt to earn his first nine-inning complete game. But he walked Sean Mullaney to start the frame and head coach Jon Martin brought in junior Jake Shapiro (Sandy, Utah) to try and close it out.

After a sacrifice bunt moved Mullaney to second, Shapiro struck out pinch hitter Joe Gentile for the second out of the inning. 

Twice, Shapiro was one strike away from ending the game. But Cody Todesco reached on an infield single, moving Mullaney to third in the process. Then Nick Sadler hit a sharp grounder up the middle that deflected off Shapiro's glove into no man's land. Mullaney scored on the play, tying the game at two.

Shapiro got Lopez to line out to center to keep the score tied heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Bowdoin reliever Connor Rooney (0-1) retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.

In the top of the 10th, Shapiro (1-0) worked around a one-out walk and a stolen base to set up Fox's heroics in the bottom half of the frame.

The game marks the Bobcats' first extra innings contest of the season. The win gives Bates their first four-game winning streak since 2014 and their first four-game winning streak in NESCAC play since 2012. 

The Bobcats take on the Polar Bears in a doubleheader Saturday starting at noon. Just like Friday's game, the twin bill will take place at Coombs Field on the campus of Colby College. Bowdoin will be the "home team" for both games.