MANSFIELD, Conn. – Clark University stranded seven runners through the first three innings and seven Eastern Connecticut State University pitchers combined on a nine-hitter with nine strikeouts to carry the Warriors to a 6-3 non-conference win in the first meeting ever between the programs.
Every Eastern starter but one contributed to Eastern's (11-9) ten-hit attack, with sophomore DH Jack Rich (Meriden) and freshman second baseman Owen Marica (Haddam) contributing two each, with Marica giving the Warriors the lead for good (2-0) with a two-run, two-out single in the second.
Senior righty Cole Ogorzalek (Portland) won his first game in his first decision with 2 2/3 innings in relief of sophomore lefty starter Jason Federer (Plainfield). Making his first career start, Federer was lifted two batters into the third inning with a runner on second. Ogorzalek hit a batter and gave up a two-out RBI double to junior leftfielder Collin Porter for Clark's first run, before Ogorzalek went on to retire the final eight batters that he faced in order.
Senior lefty Nick Rascati (Wallingford) got three outfield fly ball outs to end the game and earn his second save after being summoned with two runners aboard in the ninth and Eastern leading 6-2. Junior shortstop Dylan Horn made it 6-3 with a single through the right side off Rascati but Rascati induced two outfield fly balls on 3-2 counts and ended the game by getting junior first baseman Callum Sawden on a 1-2 fly ball to left.
After Clark (8-13) chased Federer in the third and cut the Eastern lead to 2-1, the Warriors put up single runs three times over the next four innings to move out to a 5-1 lead after six innings. A one-out single by senior rightfielder Ryan Hood (Arlington, MA) and sophomore first baseman Luke Broadhurst's (Stafford) two-out single made it 3-1 in the third.
With two out and none on in the fourth, Marica singled on a 3-2 pitch, moved to third on Rich's single and scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-1. Eastern knocked out Clark freshman lefty starter Jacob Pullen in the fifth when it pushed the lead to 5-1. Rich's second hit of the game plated junior catcher Jake LeFevre (Mansfield Center), who walked to open the inning and stole second off sophomore righty reliever Sean Savage.
The Cougars managed only one run through the first three innings despite putting eight runners on base. They stranded seven in that early stretch. Federer got out of a bases-loaded jam with three strikeouts in the first inning of a scoreless game, got a strikeout, fly ball and infield grounder after the first two batters reached on a walk and hit-by-pitch in the second and left two in scoring position when they broke through for a run in the third.
Eastern hosts the University of Southern Maine Saturday in a Little East Conference twinbill at noon. The Huskies are ranked No. 3 nationally and No. 1 in New England.