KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The floodgates opened on the Corsairs in extras as the Blue and Gold yielded six runs in the tenth, but the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth baseball team flexed its resiliency by hanging seven on the board to seize a 13-12, come-from-behind, four-and-a-half-hour victory over Illinois Wesleyan at Osceola Heritage Park #1 on Monday night. Junior Nate Tellier (Attleboro, Mass.) capped the comeback off with a walk-off single to help the club improve to .500 (3-3) on the young season, simultaneously revising the Knights' mark to 4-3.
How it Happened
- Runners on first and second with one out in the first made for an unideal beginning to the ball game for Corsair starter Shane Reardon (Kinnelon, N.J.), but received help from Titan confusion on the base paths. After freshman Evan Ranneklev's (Naperville, Ill.) single through the right side, junior Dalton Fletcher (Athens, Ill.) rounded second and arrived to third only to find senior teammate Stephen Billington (Peoria Heights, Ill.) still on the bag. Right fielder Chris Wood (Berkley, Mass.), who hit cutoff man JR DiSarcina (Barnstable, Mass.) beside the mound, worked with catcher Mitch Baker (Braintree, Mass.) and third baseman Mike Knell (Dennis, Mass.) to successfully tag out both runners and maneuver out of the inning.
- UMass Dartmouth's first four hitters strung together three singles and a double for three quick scores, with Tellier picking up an RBI double and Knell a two-run base-knock (3-0). An error by the Titan infield gifted the Corsairs another (4-0), but that would be all the well had to offer for the squad that batted around.
- In the second, the Titans flipped the script by taking advantage of a Corsair error that would have been the middle retiree bookended by a pair of Illinois Wesleyan strikeouts, but the men in green combined for three consecutive singles to produce as many runs (4-3).
- Illinois Wesleyan added another pair in the third, scoring on a fielding miscue up the middle to take the lead (5-4).
- Baker was hit by a pitch to lead off the next half inning, promptly getting to second on a good read of a ball in the dirt. He came home moments later to tie the game on junior Nick Andrews' (Raynham, Mass.) double to left (5-5). The Blue and Gold threatened for more with the bases loaded and just one away, but sophomore reliever Hunter Simon (Verona, Ill.) delivered one pitch for a 6-4-3 double play to escape the threat.
- An errant Corsair throw on a pickoff attempt in the top of the fourth looked like another runner in scoring position for Illinois Wesleyan but freshman Jon Candiales (Attleboro, Mass.) raced over from his second base position to the warning track along the right field line and located a perfect strike to Knell at the hot corner to eliminate the Titan from getting another 90 feet.
- The Titans were threatening in the away half of the sixth with the bases loaded and just one out. Fletcher looked to tag up on a high fly ball toward the left field line, but Andrews uncorked a throw just a foot to the left of the right-handed batter's box that Baker received before lunging out to tag the runner for the inning-ending 7-2 double play.
- After Vartanian worked a walk in the seventh, his pinch runner Nick Carr (Sandwich, Mass.) scurried home on a booming Candiales double off of the base of the right field wall to go back out in front (6-5).
- Titan freshman Dom DiLello (Springfield, Ill.) came through big in the eighth with an RBI single to re-tie the game, which eventually headed to extras. In the tenth, Illinois Wesleyan took full advantage of five walks and a hit batsman to put up a six-spot for a 12-6 lead.
THE SEVEN-RUN, TENTH INNING COMEBACK:
- Back-to-back walks by Wood and Tellier initiated the Corsair comeback to set the table for Knell's RBI single that knocked down the first of what would be seven dominos.
- Baker then scored Tellier on a hard ground ball that ate up the third baseman, leading to a sacrifice fly from Andrews to make it a 12-9.
- Pinch-hitter Zak Souza (Fall River, Mass.) laced a double to left to plate Baker to get the Corsairs within a pair, handing the baton over to Candiales with two on.
- The freshman lefty deposited a single to right to get UMass Dartmouth within one (12-11), moving the train along with pinch-runner Jon Rodriguez (Lawrence, Mass.) as the tying score and himself as the go-ahead run.
- A fielder's choice got the Titans their second out of the inning, but Wood – who led off the inning with a base on balls – kept the adrenaline pumping by pulling an RBI single through the hole to tie the game up at 12-all.
- Tellier worked his at-bat to a 3-1 count before ripping a single to left, scoring DiSarcina to fully complete the seven-run, 10th inning Corsair comeback and sending the squad into a mob in the middle of the diamond.
Inside the Numbers
- After a 17-hit outing yesterday against No. 14 Keystone College, UMass Dartmouth nearly replicated its work at the dish by churning out 16 base-knocks. Wood, Tellier, and Knell each collected three, and each scored twice.
- Both sides saw six of its respective players pick up RBI's.
- 14 pitchers in total combined for 446 pitches thrown. UMass Dartmouth's logged 229, with Illinois Wesleyan trailing close behind at 217.
- Candiales' 2-for-4 performance kept him ahead as the team's batting average leader (.545). On his heels are Wood (.478) and Knell (.435). The freshman also leads in on-base percentage thus far (.615), with Knell (.552) and Wood (.538) also getting the job done.
- Knell has been slugging it at .913 clip on the year, over 300 points above the next teammate.
- The Corsairs have scored in every inning this year (1-10). They have yet to yield a ninth inning run.
- Both teams combined for 14 errors, 24 walks, and left 28 on base.
Both ball clubs retreat to Auburndale's Lake Myrtle Field, with Head Coach Bob Prince's team taking on Amherst at 2:45 p.m. while Illinois Wesleyan battles Westfield State University an hour later.