Bates College’s Nolan Collins fires a pitch during Friday afternoon’s home game against Bowdoin. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn


LEWISTON — Nolan Collins fell behind in Friday’s pitchers’ duel against his Bowdoin College counterpart, Brandon Lopez. But once Collins settled down, he was nearly unhittable.

Bates College’s offense eventually warmed up against Lopez, and then scored the winning run after knocking him out in a 3-2 NESCAC baseball victory at Leahey Field.

“Nolan, for some reason, it’s just the first inning always kills us,” Bates catcher Jack Arend said. “It’s a quick two outs, and then they got a couple bloop hits, and kind of squared up the middle, and then he just settled down and shoved. He shoved. It was awesome.”

Collins induced a ground out to start, then a strikeout looking, but Nick Merrill started a hit parade of singles that included Chris Attisani, Gavin Cann and James McCarthy to give the Polar Bears (5-18-1, 3-7 NESCAC) a quick 2-0 lead.

“He just left a couple pitches up, and then they battle with two strikes, and a couple of them squeak through,” Bates coach Jon Martin said. “But he nailed it down for eight innings after that, and gave us a chance offensively to come back. So it’s fine.”


Lopez, meanwhile, was on from the beginning. He retired the first nine batters, with five strikeouts, including three looking. Leadoff batter Justin White broke up that perfect start with a double to open the fourth, then moved to third on a passed ball, and Arend walked, but a pop-up, another strikeout looking and a ground out got Lopez out of the jam.

“He hit spots, change of speeds,” Bowdoin coach Mike Connolly said. “He’s tough to hit against because he can throw, realistically, three and some days four pitches for strikes. When he has them going it’s not an easy matchup for a hitter.”

“He’s a good pitcher. He’s one of the better pitchers in the league,” Martin said. “He knows how to pitch. He goes out and battles, and that’s what he did today.”

The Bobcats (12-12, 4-3) used a little two-out magic of their own to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth. A pop-up and a swinging strikeout gave Lopez two quick outs, but No. 8 hitter Colin Coyne was hit by a pitch and Jon Lindgren followed with a single. White drove home Coyne with another single, but Arend struck out looking after battling the count full to end the inning.

Rob Mateson slides back to first base before Bowdoin’s Jack Wiloite catches the ball during Friday afternoon’s home game in Lewiston. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

Arend said Lopez took advantage of a big strike zone, and the strikeout left him frustrated, but he knew he was going to get another opportunity to hit.

That chance came two innings later, but not against Lopez. The Bowdoin starter notched his 10th and final strikeout to start the bottom of the seventh, but Coyne singled and Lindgren doubled to put two runners in scoring position.


“I think in the seventh he left a couple pitches in the middle of the plate and they took advantage of it,” Connolly said. “But overall he pitched a great game. He cruised early, and then competed his way through jams in the middle, and certainly deserved better.”

Colby Lewis came on in relief of Lopez and walked White on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Arend then swung at the first pitch he saw and singled it hard down the first-base line to drive in two runs and give the Bobcats a 3-2 lead.

“I’m more a take-first kind of guy,” Arend said. “I was just looking for something I could elevate because we had bases loaded with one out, so I was just trying to get something to the outfield. I think he kind of jammed me a little bit, but I got enough barrel on it, got it down the line, kept it fair, and two runs scored.”

Lewis induced a double play after that, but the damage was already done.

Bates College’s Colin Coyne gets a high-five form teammate Jack Arend after scoring a run against Bowdoin during Friday afternoon’s home game in Lewiston. Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn

And the Polar Bears had no answer. Not with the way Collins pitched the final eight innings. He worked around a two-out walk in the third and a one-out double in the fourth, but pitched clean innings otherwise until the top of the ninth.

Attisani led off by reaching on an error, and pinch runner Owen Gideon-Murphy advanced on Gann’s sacrifice bunt. But Collins then struck out McCarthy and induced a grounder to second that he ran to first for the put-out for to end the game.

“Nolan pitched a great game,” Connolly said. “He was the main difference in why struggled.”

Collins’ first complete game of the season (and second of his career) featured five hits and just one walk with eight strikeouts. The Bobcats tagged Lopez with six hits and a walk.

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