NORTHBOROUGH, Mass.- Making its first postseason appearance since 2010, the fourth-seeded Eastern Nazarene College baseball team topped fifth-seeded Southern Vermont 4-2 in the opening round of the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Tournament Tuesday evening at the New England Baseball Complex for the program's first postseason victory since 2006.
The Lions improve to 20-17 on the season with the win and advance to the double-elimination stages of the NECC Tournament. The Mountaineers wrap up the spring with a 14-17-1 overall record.
Anthony Esposito (Mount Royal, N.J.) posted two hits and two runs scored on the night. Connor Simpson (Haverhill, Mass.) finished with a pair of base knocks, one RBI, and one run scored. Matthew Urena (Flushing, N.Y.) landed two hits and crossed the dish once. Josue Basilis (Bronx, N.Y.) collected two base hits while Zachary Carmody (Babylon, N.Y.) and Steven Pesce (Harrison, N.Y.) both tallied one hit and one RBI.
After four scoreless innings, Eastern Nazarene seized a 1-0 edge in the bottom of the fifth frame. Pesce doubled to centerfield to drive in Esposito from second base.
Southern Vermont scored twice in the seventh to grab a 2-1 advantage. Jason Marcello slapped a double down the right field line to plate Brandon Lara-Mack and Jacob Villegas.
The Lions responded with three runs in the home half of the seventh to reclaim the lead, 4-2. Simpson laced a double down the left field line to knock in Urena from third. After Simpson scurried home on a wild pitch, Carmody raked a two-out single to score Esposito.
Brent Houle (Westfield, Mass.) tossed seven innings and registered six strikeouts in his team-leading ninth start. Daniel Rivera (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) threw two scoreless innings in his 13th relief appearance and racked up four strikeouts.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene heads to top-seeded Mitchell May 2 in the NECC Tournament.