DANBURY, CT – Senior outfielder Kyle MacLean (Southington, CT) went 3-for-5 and drove in a game-high four runs but it wasn't enough as the Western Connecticut State University baseball team suffered a heartbreaking 10-9 loss to visiting non-league foe John Jay College on Thursday afternoon at Westside Field. Trailing 7-1 in the fifth, the Colonials would rally, eventually capturing a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the eighth. However, the Bloodhounds pushed a pair of runs across in the top of the ninth to steal the victory and improved to 10-21 overall. WestConn fell to 5-18.
The visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening frame. They seemed poised to continue the opening inning rush. However, with runners on the corners, the Colonials turned the coveted triple play. John Jay rookie Jake Walton (Glen Head, NY) flied out to MacLean in right. MacLean then fired to first to double up the runner headed toward second. The runner from third appeared to have scored but WestConn tossed the ball over to third and the runner was called out for leaving the base early.
John Jay added another pair of runs in the second and three more in the fifth before the Colonial bats came to life in the bottom half of the frame. With two outs, MacLean cleared the bases when he blasted a towering shot over the outstretched arm of the left fielder. Junior catcher Erik Merrill (Poughkeepsie, NY) – who finished 3-for-4 – then tripled to push MacLean across the plate. Moments later, classmate designated hitter Matt Mancini (Waterbury, CT) singled home Merrill, cutting the John Jay advantage to 7-6.
The Bloodhounds widened the gap to 8-6 in the top of the eighth when senior shortstop Zach Hyde (Myrtle Beach, SC) singled home a runner while another tried to score but was thrown out at the plate by the Colonial arm of junior center fielder Moe Ortiz-Echevarria (Norwalk, CT).
In the ensuing bottom half, he then smacked a double to left center, driving in a pair of runs and knotting the score at 8-8. Shortly thereafter, he came around to score when MacLean roped a shot up the middle, giving WestConn its first lead of the contest, 9-8.
However, the Colonials' bullpen could not seal the win as the Bloodhounds tallied two runs in the top of the ninth off a wild pitch and sacrifice fly. WestConn was unable to put together another surge in the final half inning.
Sophomore reliever Kienan Giller (Willington, CT) took the tough loss for the Colonials while senior righty Christopher Arnaud (New York, NY) earned the fortunate victory for the Bloodhounds. Sophomore Nick Jack (Coram, NY) tossed a scoreless ninth, picking up his second save for the visitors to cement the win.
WestConn returns to action at UMass-Boston on Friday.