The New England College baseball team played host to the Lyndon State Hornets on Saturday, April 21st for a North Atlantic Conference doubleheader. The teams met only ten days prior and split two games in Lyndonville. With the split of the doubleheader in Henniker, the teams divided the season series at two wins apiece. The Pilgrims would move their record to 20-9 (9-5 NAC) and Lyndon State would move to 10-14 (6-4 NAC).
The first game of the day would be headlined by an outstanding pitching performance by Pilgrims starter Nick Powers. Powers would earn his seventh win of the season, improving his pitching record to 7-0. Powers would only allow one unearned run over the course of his complete game performance that featured eight strikeouts and only three hits allowed. Today’s performance would lower Powers’ ERA to 0.86.
Lyndon State would scratch across one run in the top of the fourth inning on a RBI groundout by Zak Johnson. However, the lead would only last for one half inning as Justin Carey would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homerun to left field to tie the score at 1-1. After Xavier Nunez drew a walk, he would make it to third base with two outs when Luis Atiles came to the plate. Atiles would ground a single into left field that would score Nunez and give the Pilgrims a 2-1 lead. They would hold onto that 2-1 lead for the remainder of the game, as Powers would only allow one more baserunner after getting the lead.
Shane Audet would get the start for NEC in the second game of the day and would sustain only his second loss of the season, despite letting up only one earned run. The Pilgrims biggest weakness in this game would be their defense, as four errors would end up leading to three Hornets runs. In the top of the first inning Andre Eason Jr. would double off the center field fence and drive in two runs for a 2-0 Lyndon State lead.
It would not take the Pilgrims long to respond however, as Evan Delaney would lead off the bottom of the first inning with a solo homerun to center field. Justin Carey would walk and later come around to score with some good baserunning while Xavier Nunez was caught in a run down between first and second base. The Pilgrims would take their first lead of the game in the bottom of the second inning when Carey drove in Delaney with a RBI single.
Lyndon State would take the lead in the top of the fourth inning, scoring two runs on a pair of Pilgrim errors. The Hornets would add an insurance run in the top of the seventh inning to improve their lead to 5-3. The Pilgrims would battle back in the bottom of the seventh when Stanley Vargas drove in Clifford Guerrero with a RBI single to cut the lead to 5-4. However, that is as close as the Pilgrims would get, a popout with the bases loaded would end the game and give the Hornets a split of the day’s action.
The Pilgrims return to action on Sunday afternoon when they visit Thomas College. They will return home for their final home games of the season next weekend when they host Maine Farmington on both Saturday and Sunday.