LEWISTON, Maine – Endicott fought back from a 3-0 deficit against Bates College to tie the game 3-3 in the eighth, and the Gulls seized their first lead with another run in the top of the ninth, but the Bobcats scored twice in the bottom of the inning to walk off with a 5-4 victory and celebrate their home opener at Leahey Field on Thursday afternoon.
Bates junior Kevin Davis (Andover, Mass.) singled through the right side with the bases loaded and no one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, dealing Endicott their third straight loss and dropping the Gulls to 10-8 on the year, while Bates improved to 8-5.
Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.), Colin Sitarz (W. Hartford, Conn.) and Conor Ressel (Rockport, Mass.) each had two of Endicott's eight hits in the game and Oringer and Sitarz drove in a pair of runs apiece.
Unable to score through the first three innings and trailing 3-0, the Gulls got single runs in the fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth to take the lead before the home teams loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the final frame.
Oringer drove home Eric Lemke (Southington, Conn.) with a groundout in the fifth inning and Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.) drew a leadoff walk in the sixth and advanced to bases on an errant pick-off throw by Bates sophomore pitcher Sam Mliska (Palo Alto, Calif.). Gold came across the plate on a sacrifice fly to left by Sitarz.
Another miscue helped Endicott tie the game, as first baseman Brett Holmgren (Middleboro, Mass.) led off the eighth by reaching on an error and eventually scored on a single to right by Sitarz, the left fielder.
Endicott took the lead on their fourth unanswered run when shortstop Cody Hall (Rutland, Mass.) led of the ninth with a single. Ressel sac-bunted him to second and Oringer plated pinch-runner Tim Brutto (Worcester, Mass.) with a single past first base. The Gulls could have had more in the inning, but Endicott stranded the bases loaded when senior Mike Antonellis (Sudbury, Mass.) induced a popup out of freshman pinch hitter Greg Heineman (Wilbraham, Mass.).
Bates used eight pitchers in the win, and collected 11 hits against four Endicott pitchers. Antonellis (1-2) got the final two outs in the top of the ninth to earn the victory.
After throwing a scoreless eighth inning for Endicott, Connor McLaughlin (Clinton, Mass.) ran into trouble in the ninth and was tagged with the loss, falling to 1-2 in the year.
With two runners on in the bottom of the ninth, Bates senior Ryan Sonberg (Windsor, Con.) laid down a bunt that died in the dirt just inside the third-base line. Endicott catcher Robert Goldstick (Deerfield, Ill.) retrieved the ball several feet up the line and tried to throw out Sonberg at first, but his errant throw allowed all three Bates runners an extra base, and Warren scored the tying run from second.
McLaughlin intentionally walked Griff Tewksbury (Concord, N.H.) to load the bases for the Bobcats and to face Davis, who was 0-for-4 at the time. The lefthanded hitting third baseman roped a line drive into right field, scoring Mekae Hyde (Lewiston, Maine) with the game-ending run.
Sophomore Nate Pajka (Douglas, Mass.) drove in the first three runs for Bates, the first with a single to left field in the second and two more with a double to left center in the fourth. All three runs came off Endicott starter Brendan Pittsley (Plympton, Mass.), who went six innings and struck out nine, but earned no decision in the game.
Endicott begins a crucial weekend of Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) play on Saturday with a home double-header against Eastern Nazarene at 12:00 pm. Sunday will feature another home twin-bill at noon, this time with reigning champion Western New England coming to town.
Bates begins a NESCAC East Division series against Bowdoin with a nine-inning home game on Friday at 3pm.