FORT PIERCE, Fla.- The Eastern Nazarene College baseball team landed 14 hits en route to prevailing 11-9 in a hard-fought bout against Wilkes Monday evening under the lights.
The Lions climb to 2-1 on the season with the victory while the Colonels fall to 2-2 overall.
Connor Simpson (Haverhill, Mass.) paced the offensive attack with three hits, three RBIs, four stolen bases, and one run scored. Zachary Carmody (Babylon, N.Y.) racked up three hits and scored a run. Anthony Esposito (Mount Royal, N.J.) landed two hits, drove in three RBIs, scored twice, and swiped a pair of bags. Matthew Urena (Flushing, N.Y.) finished with two base knocks, two runs scored, and one RBI. Joshua Bombard (Rutland, Mass.) chipped in with a pair of RBIs and one stolen base.
Eastern Nazarene jumped in front 3-0 with three runs in the top of the first inning. Esposito laced a single to right field to drive in Simpson from second base. Steven Pesce (Harrison, N.Y.) scorched a base hit to left to score Esposito before Carmody scored on a groundout by Bombard.
Wilkes cut the deficit to 3-2 with a pair of runs in the home half of the first. Charles Giacometti and Matt Reinert picked up back-to-back RBI singles as Jack Fischer and Nicholas Capozzi both crossed the dish.
The Colonels plated two in the second frame to seize a 4-3 edge. Vinny Bobbin tagged up and scampered home on a sacrifice fly by Fischer to level the contest. Brandon Reno drove in the go-ahead run with a single through the left side of the infield to score Jack Hines.
Wilkes tacked on three runs in the bottom of the third to widen the gap to 7-3. Hines singled to drive in Reinert. Nick Pronti and Hines both scored on an infield single by Fischer.
Eastern Nazarene pulled to within two, 7-5, with a pair of scores in the top of the fourth inning. Simpson roped a double down the left field line to plate Urena and James Coury (Milford, Conn.).
The Lions regained the lead in the seventh, scoring three runs to capture an 8-7 advantage. Simpson drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in Bombard. Esposito raked a two-out base hit to score the tying and go-ahead runs as Urena and Josue Basilis (Bronx, N.Y.) both scurried home.
The Colonels knotted the game at 8-8 in the bottom of the seventh. Capozzi rolled a single up the middle to knock in Alex Halladay.
Eastern Nazarene tallied two runs to collect a 10-8 lead in the eighth inning. Dylan Louviaux (Mohnton, Pa.) tagged up and dashed home from third base as Urena hoisted a sacrifice fly to right field. Hunter Leroux-Porter (Greenland, N.H.) dribbled an infield hit down the third base line to plate Bombard.
The Lions added a run in the ninth to stretch the margin to 11-8. With the bases full, Bombard absorbed a hit-by-pitch to drive in Esposito.
Wilkes narrowed the gap to 11-9 in the home half of the ninth inning. Jorge Gonzalez scored as Matt Patrizio was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Briley Seiter (Bellevue, Ky.) pitched two innings and posted one strikeout in his first start of the season. Brandon Imonti (Tewksbury, Mass.) worked seven innings in his second relief outing of the spring and struck out five batters.
Looking ahead, Eastern Nazarene battles Hood in a doubleheader March 5.