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Baseball: Warriors Trump Tufts, 12-8

Balowski drives in four runs as team rallies from early five-run deficit

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MANSFIELD, Conn. --  The Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team erased an early five-run deficit by sending 12 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs on eight hits in the bottom of the third inning, then broke a tie with four runs in the bottom of the seventh in a 12-8 non-conference victory over Tufts University Monday evening at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

At right: Joe Balowski knocked in four runs in Monday's 12-8 win over Tufts at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.

Hitting safely in his sixth consecutive game, senior first baseman Joe Balowski (Berlin) drove in the first two runs of the third inning with a triple, and his two-run, two-out single on a 3-2 pitch plated the first two runs of the seventh which snapped an 8-8 tie. Senior second baseman Drew Accomando (Monroe) drove in three runs with a first-inning single, a third-inning sacrifice fly, and followed Balowski's two-run single with a run-scoring double -- also on a 3-2 pitch -- in the seventh. Accomando also closed out the win by fanning the final three batters of the ninth after a leadoff walk.

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At left: Tyler Cyr pitched two scoreless innings early in the game which allowed the Warriors to remain within striking distance of Tufts Monday night.

Sophomore righty Tyler Cyr (Bristol) allowed only one hit in two innings as the third of seven Eastern (24-11-1) pitchers, starting a 1-6-3 double play in the third before the Warriors' seven-run third inning. Appearing in his 25th game of the season in relief (one shy of the record for relief appearances in a season), senior righty Matt Purnell (Stafford Springs) left the bases loaded with a swinging strikeout to end the seventh after Tufts had tied the game with two runs, then pitched a 1-2-3 eighth (fanning two) before Accomando closed  out Purnell's fourth win in five decisions and preserved Eastern's fifth win over Tufts (21-12) in the last seven meetings.

Junior third baseman Mike Vaccarelli (Wolcott), Eastern's leading hitter, reached safely four times with three walks and an RBI single and scored twice. The top five hitters in the Eastern order - junior shortstop Brendan Lynch (Wethersfield), Vaccarelli, senior centerfielder Mike Riemer (Ellington), Balowski and Accomando, combined to reach safely 13 times with eight hits (three for extra bases), and five walks, drive in nine runs, and score seven. With two hits, Balowski inched to within .300 for the first time since April 10.

Eastern played without an error for the ninth time this year.

Sophomore second baseman Joe Harrington, batting eighth in the order, drove in three runs for Tufts with an RBI single in a four-run first inning and a two-run single in the third that pushed Tufts' lead to 6-1.

The three hour and thirty four minute game included  20 runs, 23 hits, 11 different pitchers, seven hit batters and 11 walks. Eastern's eight hits in the third inning were two shy of the program record.

Eastern hosts Amherst College in a 3 p.m. non-conference makeup doubleheader on Seniors' Day Wednesday in the final regular-season home games of the year. Eastern closes out the regular season Friday with a Little East Conference noon doubleheader at Keene State College before opening up in the conference tournament a week from thisWednesday at Gorham, ME.

 

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