SWARTHMORE, Pa. -- Garnet infielders Thomas Nakamura '10 and Conor Casey '09 each had two hits and an RBI as Swarthmore's comeback fell short on Opening Day of the 2007 Centennial Conference schedule against visiting Washington. The Shoremen (7-6, 1-0 CC) got three hits and two RBIs from junior Kirk Hines to defeat Swarthmore (2-9, 0-1 CC) by a score of 8-7 on a warm Tuesday afternoon at Clothier Fields.
Darren Colannani (2-1) pitched six innings, striking out two with two walks while Hines tossed two innings for his second save of the season.
Garnet starter Justin Chen '08 (0-2) suffered the loss, pitching three innings while allowing only two runs on three hits with two strikeouts.
Washington's Zachary Huba led off the game with a single to center and the next batter, James Tidwell reached on a fielder's choice. Doug Lutz pushed the runners over with a sacrifice bunt before Mike DeBartolome smoked a one-hopper back to Chen, who caught Huba leaning off third, erasing the Shoremen centerfielder in a rundown. Washington eventually picked up two early runs when the Swarthmore defense threw away a potential inning-ending grounder, allowing two Shoremen runs to cross the plate.
The Garnet defense re-deemed itself in the second inning. Catcher Andy Bender '08 gunned down Hines trying to steal second base for the second out. Washington still had a runner on third with two outs when Huba drilled a line drive destined for the outfield grass. Swarthmore freshman second baseman Wiley Archibald took two steps and climbed the ladder, snaring the liner for the third out.
Casey got the home team on the board in the fourth inning, dropping a two-out single into right field to drive home junior Travis Allen, who had doubled down the line two batters earlier.
Sean Varsalona '09 came on in relief of Chen in the fourth, getting three Washington batters out with a runner at second to keep it a one-run game.
Washington added five runs to their lead in the sixth frame. Greg Perret and Jim Gibbons hit back-to-back singles to left and moved up on a wild pitch. Hines delivered for the visitors with a single through the left side, bring in Perret and Gibbons for a 4-1 lead. After Hines swiped second, Huba followed with a single of his own and took second base on the first opportunity. Tidwell, the next Shoremen to the plate, laid down a sacrifice bunt that the Garnet were unable to handle. One Washington runner scored and Mike DeBartolome followed with an RBI groundout to second base, scoring Tidwell for a 6-1 Shoremen advantage.
After Washington picked up another run in the seventh the Garnet offense roared back, loading up the bags in the bottom of the seventh as Colananni began to tire. Swarthmore sophomore Grant Yoshitsu singled to left, Bender drew a walk and Colananni plunked Archibald. Senior Sammy Faeder hit a one-hopper to the right side and the Washington first baseman threw wild to the plate, allowing two Swarthmore runs to cross. Nakamura plated Archibald with a single to left Washington brought in reliever Eric Lickenstein but Allen and freshman Jimmy Gill drive a ball to the right side of the infield to bring home Faeder and Nakamura, respectively. Swarthmore totaled five runs on just two hits to cut the Shoremen lead to 8-6.
Swarthmore threatened again in the bottom of the ninth, getting the game to 8-7 when Faeder doubled off the third base bag and scored when Nakamura was caught stealing second. The Washington reliever, Hines, allowed just single by Gill before closing out the game.
Casey was 2-for-3 on the afternoon with two walks while Nakamura went 2-for-5 with a run and a stolen base. Faeder scored two runs to go along with his double. Freshman reliever Zach Sinemus made his team-high sixth appearance of the season, pitching two scoreless innings.
Swarthmore completes the home-and-home affair with Washington on Friday, March 30 in Chestertown, Md. at 3:30 p.m. The Garnet return home on Saturday, March 31 for a doubleheader with Johns Hopkins, slated to start at 1:00 p.m.