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Panther baseball opens with doubleheader split

NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — The Middlebury College baseball team on Saturday opened its season by splitting a doubleheader vs. New England College in games played on a turf field at the New England Baseball Complex in Northborough, Mass. NEC stood at 1-7.
The 1-1 Panthers were hoping to play at Castleton on Wednesday before heading to Arizona for their annual spring trip.
In the opener this past Saturday, the Panthers made a winner of head coach Mike Leonard in his debut as Colby Morris tossed a shutout in a 5-0 seven-inning victory. Morris allowed seven hits, struck out five and allowed only one runner to reach third base.
The Panthers opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning with a pair of unearned runs. Brooks Carroll scored first, racing home from third on an outfield error, while Jason Lock knocked in the second run with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Middlebury tacked on three more runs in the fourth. Phil Bernstein stroked an RBI doubled, and Justin Han later poked a two-out single to plate Bernstein and Carroll.
The Pilgrims prevailed in the nightcap, 6-4, in nine innings. 
The Panthers scored twice in the top of the first. Sam Graf belted a solo home run to left, and Kevin Woodring doubled home Lock.
The Pilgrims got the two runs back in their half of the inning on a Stanley Vargas sacrifice fly by Vargas and an Evan Delaney RBI single. Vargas then singled home Aneury Lara in the second to make it 3-2.
That lead held until the seventh, when Middlebury struck for a pair. Ryan Rizzo started the inning with a bunt single and moved to second when Graf walked. Lock then doubled Rizzo and Graf home to make it 4-3.
But the Pilgrims answered in the eighth inning with three runs on four hits. Jeam Castillo smacked a two-run single and scored on a Conor Crouse single.
Woodring and Andrew Hennings both had multi-hit games for Middlebury, and Lock doubled twice and singled.
For the Panthers, Spencer Shores tossed the first three innings allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits. Robert Erickson took the loss, pitching the next 4.1 innings, allowing two runs on one hit, and striking out seven. Conor Himstead gave up one run on three hits and recorded the final two outs.
Vincent Backert went 6.1 innings for NEC, allowing four runs on nine hits, while Joseph Pascucci went 2.2 scoreless innings with three strikeouts to earn the win. 

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