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Baseball sweeps Colby as Alexander sets career wins record

PORTLAND, Maine -- Bates senior pitcher Karl Alexander set the Bobcats' team record for career victories, but Colby made him sweat it out with a six-run rally in the ninth inning before Bates claimed a 7-6 win to complete a three-game sweep against their NESCAC East Division rivals.

It was the second year in a row that Bates (21-15, 5-7 NESCAC East) has hosted a game at Hadlock Field, home of the Class AA Portland Sea Dogs. Both Alexander and the Bobcats are now 2-0 at the facility, following last year's win over Amherst.

Bates has won six straight games, the Bobcats' second six-game win streak this season.

Alexander (Cambridge, Mass.) held the Mules (16-17, 3-9 NESCAC East) scoreless through eight innings and was riding a 7-0 lead before running into trouble in the ninth, as Colby put its first four batters on base. Mike Mastrocola hit a fielder's choice with the bases loaded to score Brandon Nieuw for Colby's first run, and both Devlin McConnell and Brendan Gallagher followed with two more run-scoring singles to chase Alexander in favor of junior Mike Antonellis (Sudbury, Mass.). Taro Gold greeted Antonellis with a two-run double to close the gap to 7-6. Gold advanced to third base on pinch hitter Lucas Geoghegan's groundout, but Antonellis shut the door by inducing Nieuw into a game-ending pop fly, earning his first save of the season.

Alexander's win raised his record this season to 5-4 and his career mark to 16-14, moving him out of a tie with Mike Kinsman '05 for sole possession of the team record.

Bates jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning, as sophomore Griff Tewksbury (Concord, N.H.) led off with a walk, followed by sophomore Steve Burke's (Bedford, N.H.) single and another walk drawn by junior Kevin McGregor (Randolph, N.J.) to load the bases with no outs. Sophomore Jeff Gunn (Atlanta, Ga.) brought Tewksbury home with a groundout, and McGregor scored when first-year Mekae Hyde (Lewiston, Maine) reached on an error. Junior Ryan Sonberg (Windsor, Conn.) then laid down a squeeze bunt to score McGregor before Colby starter Nate Sugarbaker struck out sophomore Ryan Curit (South Portland, Maine) to end the inning.

Bates struck for two more runs in the fourth, loading the bases again with two outs before Curit drew an RBI walk and McGregor was hit by a pitch for another RBI, chasing Sugarbaker in favor of Mark Collins.

Holding a 5-0 lead, Bates added two insurance runs it would turn out to need in the seventh. Once again, Bates loaded the bases before Colby could record an out, with a leadoff single by senior Mike Ciummei (Acton, Mass.), a walk to Tewksbury and a walk to Burke. Colby summoned its fifth pitcher of the game, Abhi Chandel, to face McGregor, who hit a sac fly to right field to score Ciummei. Gunn then reached on an error, allowing Tewksbury to come home for a 7-0 lead.

Colby outhit Bates 9-5 thanks to the six-hit barrage in the ninth. Gold was the only player in the game with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Bates has a non-conference game at Southern Maine on Wednesday at rpm, followed by a doubleheader against Williams on Sunday, May 6.

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