Augustana rallies late to edge baseball 6-4 in season opener

Junior Giovanni Torres went 2-5 with a run scored against Augustana College on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Junior Nolan Collins turned in a strong performance on the mound and the Bates baseball team led for most of the game before falling 6-4 to Augustana College Tuesday morning to begin the 2019 season at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. 

Collins (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) scattered seven hits over six innings pitched, allowing just two runs, walking one and striking out seven in a no-decision. He allowed a pair of runs in the first inning and shut down the Vikings (1-0) after that. 

Down 2-0, the Bobcats rallied to take the lead in the top of the second. Junior Giovanni Torres (North Haven, Conn.) got the rally started with a single to center. First-year Kevin Lucey (Topsfield, Mass.) followed with a single of his own. Junior Kyle Carter (Plantation, Fla.) bunted the runners over and reached on an error by Viking starter Mike Powers. Torres scored on the play to cut the deficit to 2-1.

With runners on second and third and nobody out, first-year Andrew Chi (Closter, N.J.) doubled in Lucey to tie the game at two. Junior Will Sylvia (Newton, Mass.) followed with an RBI ground-out to put the Bobcats up 3-2.

Bates led 3-2 going to the bottom of the seventh, but Ryan Kairis legged out a two-out infield hit off reliever senior Justin Foley (Lynnfield, Mass.) to start the Vikings' rally. After a Kairis steal and a walk to Tyler Nunez, Gunnar Haskins singled in Kairis with the tying run.

Viking reliever Josh Chamberlain set Bates down in order in the top of the eighth before his teammates plated three more runs in the bottom half. Ryan Grannemann and Nick Kirk drew consecutive walks from senior captain Alex Simon (Windsor, Conn.) to start the frame. Sam Beyer moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt and pinch-hitter Jake Huber singled to right, scoring pinch-runner Griffin Schuster with the go-ahead run. Nick Mosele squeezed in Kirk and Kairis' single to left scored Huber to make it 6-3 Augustana after eight.

Bates (0-1) tried to pull off a comeback of its own in the top of the ninth. With one away, first-year Bryan Gotti (Westwood, Mass.) pinch hit and drew a walk. Junior Jon Lindgren (Plainville, Conn.) pinch ran and sophomore Christian Beal (Flossmoor, Ill.) singled him to second. Junior captain Jack Arend (Newfields, N.H.) singled to load the bases and senior Dan Trulli (Melrose, Mass.) singled in Lindgren to cut the deficit to 6-4.

But Viking reliever John Hayes struck out the next two Bobcats to end the game.

Augustana out-hit Bates by a count of 11-9. Meanwhile, the Bobcats played errorless defense while the Vikings struggled in the field, committing a pair of errors. Powers tossed seven strong innings and Josh Chamberlin (1-0) picked up the win for Augustana out of the bullpen. Simon (0-1) took the loss for Bates.

Beal, a transfer from Miami-Ohio, went 2-5 in his debut for the Bobcats. Trulli also went 2-5 at the plate with an RBI and Torres went 2-5 with a run scored. 

The Bobcats are back in action Wednesday morning against the Vikings in game two of the four-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 11am.