NEW LONDON, Conn. – Coast Guard scored twice in the bottom of ninth for a thrilling 4-3 win over Clark in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game, the first of a three-game weekend series.
Sophomore Brendan McNeil was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to complete the ninth inning rally as the Bears improved to 13-10 overall and 6-8 in conference play.
Trailing 3-2 heading to the bottom of the ninth, senior Matt Hanks was hit by a pitch with one out, junior Mark Behne reached on a bunt single before sophomore Tim Duncan tied the game with an RBI single to right. Junior Kyle Wood was intentionally walked to load the bases before McNeil was hit to end the game.
Clark (8-13, 5-6) struck first in the first as senior Daniel Lima led off the game with a double, was bunted to third and scored on a wild pitch.
Coast Guard answered in the home half on a solo homer to right field by Duncan, his team leading fifth of the season, he is now one shy of the Bears single-season record of six homers.
The Cougars got two in the second on a two-run double by junior James Conroy for a 3-1 lead.
Sophomore Kyle Jackson's RBI ground out in the second scored McNeil, who led off the inning with an infield single, to make the score 3-2.
The two starters settled down and matched zeros for the next five innings.
Clark starter senior Luke Crocker, who survived a line drive off his pitching hand in the second, scattered seven hits over seven innings allowing two earned runs while walking three and striking out three.
Sophomore Colton Cannon (2-2) went the distance for the Bears. He allowed just one hit over the final seven innings. He allowed four hits in the game, three runs, all earned while walking six and striking out six to pick up the win.
Cannon was wild early as he issued five of his six walks in the first four innings including three walks in the fourth before pitching out of the bases loaded jam. The only hit he allowed over the final seven innings was a single to sophomore Adam Chochrek in the seventh.
Junior Brett O'Keefe (1-1) took the loss for Clark. He pitched a scoreless eighth before Coast Guard scored the two runs to win the game in the ninth.
Duncan and senior Blake Thompson each had three hits for the Bears in the win.
The teams will play a doubleheader in Worcester tomorrow at noon. Clark can clinch a berth in the NEWMAC tournament with a sweep while Coast Guard could pull even with Clark in the loss column by sweeping tomorrow and then could clinch a berth in the tournament with a win against Emerson on Monday.
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