North Adams, MA - The MCLA Trailblazers turned a tough afternoon into a happy ending by rallying in 8 innings to defeat Fitchburg State 7-6 in game two of the twin bill at the Joe Zavattaro Complex.
Andy Sauer (Willington, CT) pitched very well in game one scattering 7 hits and allowing 2 runs in going the distance to pick up the win. The Trailblazers bats were silenced most of the game; but scratched out a run in the 7th and brought the tying run to the plate in John Ripepi (Amsterdam, NY). Paul Procopio (Pittsfield, MA) was on first after driving in Joe Harrington (Pittsfield, MA) to cut the lead to 4-2. Fitchburg stayed with Sauer and he got Ripepi to ground out to 2nd to end the game.
Fitchburg scored 4 runs early highlighted by a three run 2nd, an inning that featured thee Trailblazer errors. Fitchburg got back to back singles from Kris Breen (Griswold, CT) and Ricky Graham (Walpole, MA); then Michal Mercier (Townsend, MA) squared around to sacrifice. Mercier bunted the ball past MCLA pitcher James Greeley (Newton, MA); Greeley recovered and tried to get Mercier at 1st, but the ball sailed on him and went down towards the Fitchburg bullpen in right field scoring two and putting Mercier on 3rd. Greeley, despite two more Trailblazer errors in the inning limited the damage to just three runs, however the damage was done and Sauer was cruising.
Fitchburg (13-9, 2-4) added one more in the 3rd on a two-out single by Mercier. MCLA got a run in the bottom of the 2nd on a Harrington RBI fielder's choice scoring Steve Sullivan (Wareham, MA) who had doubled earlier in the inning. Greeley took the loss going 6 innings and allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits, he struck out 5.
In game 2 the Trailblazers got behind again by scores of 4-1 and 6-4 before rallying a third time in extra innings to win in dramatic fashion in 8 innings. Fitchburg scored four runs in the 2nd; the first two came across without a ball leaving the infield. Trailblazer's starter Cyrus Curtis (Bourne, MA) loaded the bases with one out on a walk and 2 hits batsman. Will Comerford (Ayer, MA) then singled off the glove of a diving Procopio the ball rolling into short left-center scoring two. Matt Morrison (Beverly, MA) and John Phelan (Walpole, MA) added RBI singles before Curtis pitched out of it. MCLA got tied it at 4 in the 3rd on a three-run homer to dead center by Cory Burtman (Norwood, MA), scoring Ripepi and Matt Burke (Middleboro, MA).
Fitchburg went ahead in the 5th with a couple of runs on three hits, chasing Curtis from the game. MCLA (12-6, 4-2) again bounced back in the bottom of the frame on a long two-run homer by Joe Parillo (West Springfield, MA) to deep left-center field. Neither team could get much going after that until the bottom of the 8th. Procopio led off the 8th with a double off Tyler Kendrick (Montague, MA) and advanced to third on an error. Anthony Russo (Marcy, NY) won it with a sacrifice fly to right field giving the Trailblazers the much needed victory and keeping them in sole possession of third place in the MASCAC.
Jake Barbarotta (Pittsfield, MA) started for the Falcons and lasted into the third inning. Andrew Gaines (Holyoke, MA) picked up the win in relief allowing one run in 4 innings of work. The Trailblazers will take on Williams College in Williamstown on Monday at 4:00pm. Fitchburg State will host Worcester State on Tuesday starting at 2:00pm.