FORT MYERS, Fla. – Junior righty Jared Buckley (Oxford, MA) scattered five hits over seven innings in his first career start and victory when the Eastern Connecticut State University baseball team downed Lakeland University, 8-2, Friday afternoon at Terry Park Sports Complex
In his seventh career appearance, Buckley (1-0) pitched six shutout innings after Lakeland's (0-7) first two batters hit safely and accounted for the Muskies' only run off the starter. Buckley, who fanned four and walked one, departed with a 4-1 lead, and Eastern (2-3) broke the game open in chasing relief pitcher Ryan Oharriz with a four-run eighth on two hits and an infield error.
Eastern snapped a tie and went ahead for good, 2-1, with a run in the fourth on freshman Matt Malcom's (East Lyme) one-out double, and senior William Coleman's (Northford) RBI single. Leading 4-1, the Warriors tacked on four insurance runs in the eighth when Coleman was hit with the bases loaded, freshman Owen Marica (Haddam) cracked a two-run single and the fourth scored on an error.
Eastern knocked out Lakeland starter Nathan Hemmerling (0-2) in a two-run sixth that pushed Eastern's lead to 4-1. Hemmerling was touched for eight hits and three earned runs. He fanned eight and walked two.
As the second of four pitchers, junior righty Jack Risley (Willimantic) pitched a scoreless eighth inning, strikeout out one and giving up one hit, before the Muskies reached two Eastern pitchers for a run in the ninth.
Coleman reached four times with three hits and his HBP, drove in three runs and scored two. Malcom and leadoff hitter Alexander White (West Hartford) both reached three times with two hits and a walk. Malcom scored twice and White stole a base and scored once.
Through five games, Malcom leads Eastern in batting (.571), with White at .529 and Coleman at .400. White has hit safely in all five games and is one of five players to reach safely in every game.
Saturday at Port Charlotte, Eastern faces Babson College (3:30 p.m.) and North Central College (6:30 p.m.) at Port Charlotte before closing out its Florida trip Sunday against College of Wooster at 11 a.m. at Punta Gorda.