PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – North Central College scored three runs after there were two out in the bottom of the eighth inning to spoil a strong relief effort by Eastern Connecticut State University sophomore righty Nicholas Kraszewski (East Haven), and the Cardinals remained undefeated with a come-from-behind 5-3 baseball verdict Saturday evening at North Charlotte Regional Park.
Eastern (2-5) carried a 3-2 lead into the eighth behind Kraszewski, who held NCC (6-0) scoreless for five inning after taking over for 6-foot-4 inch sophomore transfer righty starter Zach Player (East Hampton) with one out in the third. In his first relief appearance of the season, Kraszewski was lifted after walking No. 3 hitter Rob Marinec with one out in the eighth. With two out and Marinec on second, the Cardinals pushed across three runs on two hits, a walk, passed ball, and hit batsman. Pinch hitter Justin Rios broke a 3-3 tie with a single to right.
The 6-foot-3 inch Kraszewski limited NCC to one run on three hits while strikeout out five and walking two in 5 1/3 innings. Player was making his first collegiate start after appearing in five games out of the bullpen and being named to the Northeast 10 Conference All-Rookie Team as a freshman at NCAA Division II post-season qualifier Franklin Pierce University last year.
Junior leftfielder John Mesagno (Tappan, NY) recorded his third multiple-hit game of the year as the only Eastern player with more than one. Batting cleanup, Mesagno had two of the team's six hits, putting the team on top with a two-out single in the top of the first to drive in junior Jake LeFevre (Mansfield Center). LeFevre was hit by a pitch with one out, moved to second on an error and to third on senior Alex Parkos' (Meriden) infield single.
After NCC tied the game in the bottom of the first, senior Alexander White (West Hartford) lifted the Warriors into the lead again, 3-1, with a two-run, two-out double in the second that plated sophomore Jack Rich (Meriden) and first-year sophomore transfer Luke Broadhurst (Stafford). Rich's first hit of the year got things going with one out and an outfield error allowed Broadhurst to reach safely and send Rich to third.
The Cardinals cut the Eastern lead to one, 3-2, with back-to-back opening-inning hits off Player, but Kraszewski allowed Eastern to avoid further damage by inducing an infield double play started by senior second baseman William Coleman (Northford), and kept the game tied with an inning-ending strikeout.
White and Coleman both reached three times with a hit and two walks.
It marked the second time in three games that Eastern played without an error, with freshman Owen Marica (Haddam) collecting six assists at shortstop and Broadhurst handling nine chances at first.
Eastern closes out the trip Sunday at 11 a.m. against the College of Wooster, the No.-1 ranked team in Division III.