Baseball walks off, falls to Coast Guard in senior day doubleheader


Courtesy of Anna Schoenmann

Emerson baseball triumphed over Coast Guard, 7-6

By Jordan Pagkalinawan, Managing Editor

With the first game of Senior Day tied in the bottom of the ninth, the winning run on third base, senior catcher and co-captain Matt Nachamie stepped up to the plate with one goal in mind: “Put the ball into the outfield.”

And he did exactly that, belting a single up the middle to score the winning run for the first back-and-forth game of a heated double header against Coast Guard.

The Emerson baseball team split their Senior Day doubleheader against Coast Guard on Saturday, winning the first game and losing the second by identical 7-6 scores.

Game 1

After senior right-hander Chris Lowe hit the second batter in the lineup, Coast Guard managed to move their man to third on a stolen base and groundout. The Bears would score the game’s first run on a wild pitch before Lowe redeemed himself with a strikeout to end the top of the first.

Despite their rocky start, the Lions were able to take advantage of opportunities early. After graduate outfielder Quinton Copeland hit a single to right field, he advanced to third as senior infielder Jake Hatch singled to right center. Hatch proceeded to steal second base, putting two men in scoring position for sophomore infielder Briggs Loveland. Loveland’s right-field single scored Hatch and Copeland, and Emerson led 2-1 in the bottom of the first.

Coast Guard managed to tie the score at 2-2 with successive singles in the top of the third, but the Lions regained the lead in the bottom of the inning. Senior infielder Chris Ferara scored Hatch—who reached on a walk and stole second—off a single to give the Lions a 3-2 advantage.

Coast Guard was able to regain their composure in the fifth, with a two-out single followed by an RBI double to left center that again tied the score. The parity didn’t last for long, though, thanks to a sort of shot heard ‘round the world bat from Hatch. One loud crack of the bat was all it took for the senior to bounce the ball off the top of the right field fence—Hatch’s sixth home run of the season.

Unfortunately, the Lions wasted a key opportunity at the bottom of the sixth. After junior utility Blake Benway, senior infielder and co-captain Thai Morgan, and senior Ty Bourne loaded the bases at third, second, and first respectively, Copeland had a chance at a grand slam to break the game wide open. Instead, his ball was caught out in center field, ending the sixth.

The Bears took the lead in the top of the seventh as a single to left field scored the runner on third, bringing the ball game to a score of 5-4. Hatch, facing a 2-1 count in the bottom of the inning, buried a triple deep to right center field. Loveland went on to face a full count—three balls and two strikes—and grounded out to first base after scoring Hatch from third. It would be Loveland’s third RBI, and the one that evened the game at five.

The eighth inning saw a pitching change for the Lions, as Lowe’s day ended with six strikeouts alongside eight hits and four earned runs. He would be relieved by senior pitcher A.J. Ortega, who quickly earned his first strikeout soon after.

Coast Guard gave Ortega a rude awakening in the top of the ninth, leading off with a pivotal single to left field. They would proceed to ring in a double to left field and score a runner before Copeland threw out to second base instead of home, preventing the Bears’ runner on first to advance to third. That would give Coast Guard a one-run advantage instead of two, bringing them up 6-5 at the conclusion of the top of the inning.

With the Lions trailing by one, Ferrara came up clutch again with a double to left center that scored Copeland. With Loveland as the winning run on third, this was Nachamie’s moment.

The senior singled up the middle and beat the throw at first while Loveland scored, and the Lions walked it off in game one with a comeback victory.

“I was just trying to put the ball in play, make something happen, and it ended up working out,” Nachamie said in an interview with the Beacon.

As senior day festivities were set to occur between games, Nachamie reflected on what his peers have meant to him over the course of his four-year career.

“The guys on this team are my closest friends,” he said. “I love them. I’ve spent every second with them for the past four years, and I couldn’t speak any higher of them if I wanted to.”

Game 2

First-year right-hander Angelo Deer took the mound for the Lions in the second game of the doubleheader.

“He’s a dawg,” Nachamie said. “Only good things happen when he pitches.”

Deer kept the Bears scoreless in the first and second, allowing the Lions to get on the board first. A Coast Guard error scored Benway from third, and the Lions would add to their lead later on in the period, as Copeland scored Bourne and junior catcher Jake Okamoto off a single to center field.

Emerson’s 3-0 lead held through two innings, but two successive errors by Hatch and Loveland in the third brought the Bears to a one-run deficit.

Despite the trouble, however, the Lions redeemed themselves with some aggressive baserunning at the bottom of the fifth. Head Coach Nick Vennochi called a double steal for baserunners Loveland and Hatch, who robbed second and third successfully. Ferrara singled to right and proceeded to score Hatch off a Coast Guard error.

After six innings, Deer’s day was done. He ended his shift with four strikeouts and 106 pitches while giving up four runs, two of which were earned. He was relieved by sophomore right-hander Jake Smith.

Unfortunately for the Lions, the seventh inning was far from perfect. Numerous errors by Lions fielders led to Bears runners on the corners, with just one out. Adding insult to injury, the Bears scored on a passed ball and tied the game following a sac fly. The Lions salvaged the inning by throwing out a Coast Guard runner who was caught stealing home, retiring the side as Emerson looked to get back on track.

Vennochi shifted his lineup in the bottom of the seventh with several sophomores. Hitting in Benway’s slot, infielder Avery Smith was hit by a pitch; he was in turn replaced by outfielder Connor Rubin, making his season debut after missing significant time with appendicitis. And catcher Bobby Posio—who teammates affectionately refer to as “Posanity”—pinch hit for Okamoto and delivered a two-RBI single that scored Ferara and Nachamie, giving Emerson a 6-4 lead.

“We’re really deep, and [we] have a bunch of talent that’s sitting there,” Vennochi said. “Those guys are ready… Posio has been white hot. It’s been huge to see him with the bat. He’s done a good job behind the plate. I thought Avery’s at-bat was great, too. It’s a tough AB to walk into. Yeah, he got hit by a pitch but it was a 3-2 count. That’s what we’re looking for there. [I am] happy to see those guys have success.”

The start of the ninth saw another pitching change, as two-way player Copeland took the mound for Smith. Copeland had pitched two other times last week—against WPI and Lesley—tallying four innings and three earned runs.

Copeland struck out one before an RBI single scored a runner from third, and brought Coast Guard within one. Another ball snuck past Morgan and Loveland in right center field, leading to a two-RBI single that gave the Bears the lead. Posio caught a runner stealing second base from behind home plate, ending the top of the ninth.

The Lions came up short in the bottom of the inning, with a strikeout and two flyouts ending their day

Vennochi said that, though the team’s first win felt great, their overall performance was hampered by mistakes.

“Honestly, I’m disappointed for the most part,” he said. “[The first game] was good to see, us getting a tight W. I just thought our [defense] kind of let us down today [with] just little things. We just gave [Coast Guard] all their runs all day today.”

Nevertheless, he said he was satisfied with other areas of the team’s performance.

“I was happy with the [offense],” he said. “They executed, they were doing what we were asking them to do. The pitching was excellent. But we’ve just got to find a way to make that tough play, do something little that’s going to get us over the edge.”

Vennochi noted the key to the team’s Tuesday match-up against WPI is harnessing all three phases: offense, defense, and pitching.

“If we do that, we’ll win,” he added. “If one lets us down, we’ll have a tough time. We need all three working, and they’re all capable.”

The Lions were clicking Tuesday afternoon against WPI, defeating the Engineers convincingly 14-3 in seven innings. Following an Engineer two-RBI homer in the bottom of the first, the Lions tied the game off a Nachamie two-RBI homer in the top of the second. They took the lead in the top of the third off Hatch’s sacrifice fly that scored Morgan, and they never looked back. Copeland’s three-run homer in the top of the fifth broke the game wide open at 7-2, and the Lions’ three phases worked wonders from there on out. A.J. Ortega finished with seven strikeouts and allowed four hits, while the Lions’ defense recorded 21 outs.

Up next, the Lions play four games in three days, including a Saturday doubleheader at Babson. They will first face Wesleyan University on Thursday at 4:00 pm.