NORTHBORO, Mass. – In a four hour long season opener on a brisk night at the New England Baseball Complex (NEBC), the Worcester State Lancers seized a 15-14 victory over the Fisher College Falcons as Mike Powers (Weymouth, Mass.) hit in the game-winning run in the top of the 9th inning.
Worcester State's rookie Ben Palatino (Hudson, Mass.) led the Lancers offensively as he went 4-for-5 and reached base a fifth time on a walk. He collected four runs and five RBI on one single, two doubles and a home run. Senior Jake Ryan (Northbridge, Mass.) also registered four hits while Mike Ferrara (Easton, Mass.) and Powers went 3-for-6. Also batting at the .500 mark was Kevin Larkin (Bristol, Conn.) who went 2-for-4.
For the Falcons, Cody Mercier (Salem, Mass.) hit two home runs and a single to record four runs and five RBI. Reynaldo Moreta (Boston, Mass.) and Angel Perez Vargas (Dorado, Puerto Rico) went 2-for-3, while Kyle Anualo (Peoira, Ariz.) batted at the .500 mark (2-4).
The Lancers scored the 15 runs on 18 hits and committed three errors, while the Falcons totaled 14 runs on 15 hits and tallied four errors throughout the contest.
Worcester State saw the first scoring of the season early on in the 1st when Palatino hit a two-run home run. However, Fisher took the lead in the bottom of the inning when Mercier hit a home run and Zach Cox (Haverhill, Mass.) and Jamie Villafane (San Juan, Puerto Rico) drove two additional runs in.
Worcester State stole the lead back once again in the top of the 2nd when Powers scored on a wild pitch, and Ryan and Palatino picked up an RBI apiece. The Lancers added to their lead in the top of the 4th to extend the score to 9-4 when Ryan, Palatino and Ferrara drove three runs in.
Despite adding one more run to advance the lead to 10-4 in the top of the 5th, Fisher College scored three runs in the bottom half to cut the Lancers' lead to just three.
Fisher College had a huge 8th inning when they batted five runs on two hits and two Lancer errors. Both Sami Bibovic (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Anulo recorded doubles while two unearned runs crossed the plate to tally five runs, giving the Falcons their first advantage since the first inning.
With Fisher ahead 14-13, Worcester State's offense was huge in the top of the 9th when Palatino started the inning with a double down the left field line. With two outs and Palatino on second base, Ferrara came up and singled to left center to send Palatino home for the game-tying run (14-14). Ferrara then advanced to second on a balk, from where Powers came up and drove him home on a single through the right side to give Worcester State the 15-14 leverage. Worcester State was then able to close the game out with a win as they caused a Fisher strikeout, fielder's choice, and a fly out in the bottom of the 9th.
Each team saw a variety of pitchers throughout the game – each team using seven pitchers throughout the contest. Starting on the mound for Worcester State was senior Tyler Barrie (Oxford, Mass.) who pitched for 1.2 innings and gave up four runs on four hits and struck out three. Following five more pitchers, Worcester State's Andrew Reed (Douglas, Mass.) closed the game out and earned his first win of the season in 1.1 innings pitched.
For the Falcons, Raymundo Gomez (Lynn, Mass.) opened up pitching the first three innings, allowing nine runs on six hits, and striking out two. The Falcons' Zach LeBlanc (Salem, Mass.) suffered the loss as he gave up two runs in the top of the 9th.
The Lancers will rest over the weekend and be back in action on Tuesday (Mar. 7) when they host UMass Dartmouth in another non-conference game at NEBC.