MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Merlyn Herrera delivered a two-out run-scoring single in the bottom of the tenth inning as the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team escaped with a 13-12 victory after blowing a seven-run lead on the way to a split of a Little East Conference doubleheader with Rhode Island College Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Baseball Stadium.
In the second game, Rhode Island (17-10, 6-3 LEC) battered six Eastern (14-11, 4-3 LEC) pitches for 18 hits and a used a seven-run eighth inning to pull away for a 16-9 victory for its eighth win in the last ten games.
In the first game, the Warriors defeated the Anchormen for the fourth time in the last five contests, but could not secure the victory until breaking the tenth-inning tie and giving relief pitcher Drew Alexopoulos his third win in three decisions.
Rhode Island capped a comeback from seven runs down in the middle innings and forced extra innings on Frank Pettinato's two-out RBI single. Alexopoulos allowed a leadoff single in the top of the tenth but stranded the go-ahead run at third base to set the stage for Herrera's game-ending single.
Mike Funaro's leadoff single, a hit batter and walk loaded the bases with none out for Eastern in the tenth. With one out, Herrera singled to plate Funaro and end the game.
All-Region corner infielder Alex Parkos' two-out grand slam (which followed three walks) in the second inning helped stake the Warriors and starting pitcher Sam Kosterich to a 5-0 lead before Rhode Island later rallied to score ten runs over the middle three innings and take a 10-8 lead.
Trailing 11-8, Eastern tied the game with a three-run seventh which featured three hits, a walk, passed ball and error – D.J. Scavone getting things started with a leadoff double – and re-gained a 12-11 lead with a run in the eighth on a leadoff walk to Parkos, a single by Scavone, and Herrera's infield ground ball.
Rhode Island, which had 37 hits – seven for extra bases – ten walks and three hit batters in the doubleheader, erased Eastern's 5-3 lead after five innings of the second game with13 runs on 12 hits and three Eastern errors over three late innings to pull away.
In two games, Alexander White reached six times for Eastern with five hits – including two doubles and a home run – and a walk, scored four runs and drove in two; Parkos reached six times with four hits – also including two doubles and a home run – a walk and hit-by-pitch, drove in seven runs and scored three; and Scavone reached seven times with four hits – two doubles – two hit-by-pitch and a walk. He scored one run and drove in one.
Funaro was aboard six times with two singles, three walks and a HBP, scored six runs and plated two.
Tyler Walsh, Rhode Island's No. 3 hitter had seven hits – including two doubles and a home run – scored six times and drove in four. He also reached an eighth time on a HBP. Leadoff hitter Brad Douglas reached safely nine times with five hits and four walks, scored five runs and drove in one, and cleanup hitter Pettinato reached eight times with five hits, two walks and a HPB, scored four times and drove in four runs.
Eastern visits Plymouth State University in a conference makeup doubleheader Sunday at noon.