Baseball's bullpen shuts down Trinity, Bobcats prevail 8-7 in series opener

Alex Simon tossed two innings of shutout ball out of the bullpen to help Bates defeat Trinity 8-7 in NESCAC action on Friday, April 20, 2018 in Hartford, Conn. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The Bates baseball team scored five runs in the fourth inning and the Bobcat bullpen sealed the deal for an 8-7 win over the Trinity College Bantams Friday afternoon.

The Bobcats (11-12, 4-3 NESCAC East) had an 8-1 lead before the Bantams (13-11, 7-3 NESCAC East) scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth to chase Bates starter senior captain Connor Russell (Cumberland, Maine) from the game. 

Junior Alex Simon (Windsor, Conn.) got the final two outs of the sixth and tossed a scoreless seventh. He recorded the first out of the eighth inning before head coach Jon Martin brought in senior captain Jake Shapiro (Sandy, Utah) for the five-out save. Shapiro got the job done, retiring all five batters he faced for his fourth save of the season. 

The bullpen's effort made a winner out of Russell (3-1) who threw five and a third innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits, walking four and striking out four.

The Bates offense got things rolling in the top of the second. Junior Dan Trulli (Melrose, Mass.) doubled off Trinity starter Erik Mohl (2-4) to start the frame. Junior Justin White (Whitesboro, N.Y.) singled Trulli to third and one out later sophomore Giovanni Torres (North Haven, Conn.) singled Trulli home to put the Bobcats up 1-0.

Trinity responded in the bottom of the third. Johnny Stamatis singled to lead things off and one out later Mack Lauder singled him to third. Cooper Mooney's RBI fielder's choice scored Stamatis, tying the game at one.

Bates chased Mohl from the game in their five-run top of the fourth.

With one out, White drew a walk. Sophomore Kyle Carter (Plantation, Fla.) singled White to second and Torres singled him home, advancing Carter to third on the play. Senior Connor DiVincenzo (Westwood, Mass.) drove in Carter with a single and Torres scored on the play thanks to a Trinity error. The miscue by the Bantams allowed DiVincenzo to advance to second and with two outs sophomore Jon Lindgren (Plainville, Conn.) drove him in to extend the lead to 5-1. Lindgren advanced to second on the throw home and sophomore Jack Arend (Newfields, N.H.) continued his hot hitting with an RBI single of his own.

That was the end of the day for Mohl. Trinity brought in reliever Max Barsamian. After a walk, he got the final out of the inning and Bates led 6-1 after three and a half.

The Bobcats added two more in the top of the sixth. These insurance runs proved to be the difference in the contest. Sophomore Will Sylvia (Newton, Mass.) drew a leadoff walk. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and one out later Arend doubled him home. Arend stole third and sophomore Zach Avila (San Francisco, Calif.) singled him in. 

Avila's single chased Barsamian from the game. Reliever Alex Herbst entered and got an inning-ending double play.

The 8-1 lead got trimmed down to 8-7 thanks to Trinity's six-run bottom of the sixth. Mooney doubled to get the Bantam offense going. Brendan Pierce doubled him home and Matthew Toth singled Pierce in to cut the Bobcat advantage to 8-3. A single and a walk loaded the bases. A fielder's choice made the score 8-4 and Stamatis tripled in a pair to cut the Bates lead to 8-6. 

Simon entered the game for Russell at that point and Matt Koperniak greeted him with a sacrifice fly but Simon struck out Lauder to end the inning.

Each team tallied 10 hits on the afternoon with the Bantams committing one costly error. Arend went 2-4 with a run scored, a double, two runs batted in and a walk. Torres also went 2-4 at the plate, adding a run scored and two runs batted in as well. Every Bobcat in the starting lineup reached base at least once via a hit or a walk. 

The Bobcats and Bantams square off in a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon to wrap up the three-game series.