Jeremy Matos (Central Florida) led off the top of the ninth with his second booming home run of the night, and Mystic loaded the bases in their last chance to come back. But Laconia would not have a repeat of Friday’s Schooner rally, as Nic Manuppelli (Youngstown St) got an infield fly and two strikeouts to end the game.
The Muskrats refused to become Mystic’s league-low second win of the season, after giving them their only win on Friday. But they had to hold on for a 5-4 win as Mystic scored in each of the final two innings.
Matos and Mystic scored first and last with long bombs, but in between, Laconia crossed the plate five times in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. The Muskrats capitalized on faulty pitching in their scoring chances.
In the fourth, Schooners starter Ricky Mangione (Seton Hall) allowed a hit and a walk before Ethan Bennett (Tennessee) singled in the Muskrats’ first run. Bennett reached third, as Mangione walked the bases loaded, and a wild pitch allowed him to score a second run.
In the fifth, NECBL Player of the Week Danny Collins (Troy) hit his league-leading fourth home run of the season, conquering the Muskrat Monster yet again, and crossing Eastman Road. Collins has hit all his homers this season at Robbie Mills Field.
The sixth inning started with trouble for Mystic reliever Eric Stone (Boston College), hitting Bennett with a pitch and walking Vince Conde (Vanderbilt). After a pitching chance, Dylan Kelly (Middle Georgia) bunted the runners scoring position, allowing both to score on Nick Camastro’s (Manhattan) broken-bat double. The runs proved to be game-winners for Laconia.
Elliott Warford (Furman) was solid in his first start for Laconia, getting the win for six innings of two-run, three-hit ball. He walked only one, hit a batter, and struck out six. It was a day of redemption for both Warford and Nevin Wilson (Vanderbilt), as both bounced back from rough outings against Newport. In his first appearance since last Monday’s loss, Wilson soundly struck out all three batters he faced.
But the performance of the night belonged to Manuppelli. He is now 4-for-4 in converted save chances, as the Muskrats can’t seem to avoid close ballgames. Six of Laconia’s nine contests have been decided by one run, with the Muskrats splitting their results three apiece.
Laconia won despite committing a season-high four errors. One of Mystic’s four runs was unearned. Mystic remains at the bottom of the Eastern Division, at 1-9. Laconia moves into a tie with New Bedford for second place, a game and a half back of Newport.
The Muskrats are off on Wednesday, and will pick right back up with Mystic on Thursday at 6:30 PM in Laconia. Mystic heads home to host New Bedford Wednesday before returning to town Thursday.