AUBURNDALE, Fla.- MCLA's Brett LaBonte delivered a walk off single in the bottom of the eighth inning to score Brandon Condon (Mount Greylock) and lift the Trailblazers to a dramatic 5-4 comeback win over Illinois Tech on Sunday morning before the Scarlet Hawks held on for a 7-5 Game 2 victory.
MCLA is now 2-2 on the season while Illinois Tech is now 2-1 on the season with the split. The Trailblazers will be back at it Monday morning when they challenge Cazenovia at 9:30 a.m.
The Trailblazers and Scarlet Hawks were tied 3-3 after three innings of play as both starting pitchers were removed. From there, the bullpens took over. Neither team gave up a run over the next four innings.
In the top of the eighth, the Scarlet Hawks pushed a run across off Trailblazer reliever Kody Crosier (Drury) to take a 4-3 advantage. Brody Farnum came on and limited the damage heading into the bottom half of the frame.
Christian Seariac led off with a walk and was advanced to second on a sac bunt by Logan Rumbolt (Drury) Bill Pulasky (Mount Greylock) drove in Seariac with a single to center field and he advanced into scoring position on the throw. After pinch runner Condon was inserted, he scampered home with the game winning run on LaBonte's clutch hit up the middle giving MCLA the win.
Rumbolt ended with a pair of hits while Pulasky drove in two runs to lead the offense. Seariac scored two runs out of the leadoff spot. Shawn James started and tossed the first three innings collecting seven strikeouts, but yielding three earned runs. Frank Rickus (Mount Greylock) was great out of the bullpen tossing three scoreless frames.
MCLA got off to a good start in the nightcap leading 3-2 after an inning and a half, but Illinois Tech quickly responded. It scored six runs over the first three innings parlaying some key hits and Trailblazer wildness into their offense.
Ted Howell had the key hit with a three-run double in the second frame to lift the Scarlet Hawks to the big lead. MCLA touched up Illinois Tech starter Ryan Cantlin for 12 hits in six innings, but they couldn't capitalize with a key hit.
They finally broke through in the top of the sixth inning when Joe Dimassimo (Wahconah) doubled home Rumbolt and Seariac slicing the deficit to 7-5. Illinois escaped further damage by getting Game One hero LaBonte to fly out.
MCLA didnt go quietly in the seventh either as they quickly put two runners on and Jake Ferrara's bunt moved them into scoring position with just one out. Ben Durland pinch hit and lined out to second base bringing Seariac to the plate. He flied out to left field to end the Trailblazers rally and give the Scarlet Hawks the win.
Jeff Bink was outstanding as he went 4-4 in the nightcap to lead a 13-hit attack. Rumbolt added three hits while Seariac collected a pair of hits and scored a pair of runs. Sam Haaf took the loss after relieving starter Brendan Kelly after just 2/3 of an inning after struggling with wildness.
On opening day for the Trailblazers on Saturday, the story Pittsfield grad Bobby New. The left hander was in control the entire game as he went the distance in a 2-0 win over Anderson (Ind.).
New allowed just three hits and struck out six Ravens without allowing a walk.
MCLA had trouble figuring out Raven starter Joseph Moran. The Trailblazers finally got to Moran in the fifth inning eventually chasing him from the game. Christian Seariac had the key hit, ripping a two-run single that scored Ben Durland and Antonio Archina giving MCLA a 2-0 lead.
The rest was up to New. He cruised home allowing just one hit and a hit batter over the final three frames to secure his first victory of the year.
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