Westfield, Mass. - Senior Kyle Murphy's check-swing base-hit to right field scored Anthony Crowley with the game-winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift Westfield State to a 9-8 win over Framingham State in the MASCAC baseball tournament on Saturday afternoon.
Top-seeded Westfield, 23-15-1, advances directly to the championship round. Framingham State, 19-18, drops into the loser's bracket and will next face Salem State in an elimination game on Sunday at noon at Westfield State's Hagan Field.
The elimination game was originally scheduled to be played as the last game on the tournament schedule today, but after a 3-hour opener, and the 3-1/2 hour Owls-Rams marathon, the games committee moved the elimination game to Sunday in the best interest of protecting the teams' pitching
The championship round is scheduled to begin on Sunday, approximately 40 minutes after the conclusion of the elimination game.
Westfield jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, fueled, by three walks, and RBI singles from Alex Lafayette, Aaron Clancy and Brett Dooley.
Framingham rallied with three runs in the top of the third, getting a bases-loaded double from Cameron Borrelli off the center field wall to score three runs. Borrelli was thrown out at third trying to stretch it to a triple, but Crowley's throw from center was relayed by Colin Dunn to Dooley at third to record the final out of the inning and end the threat.
Westfield extended its lead to 8-3 in the sixth with RBI hits from Lafayette and Clancy.
Framingham kept clawing back scoring two runs in the eighth to trim the lead to 8-5, then got three runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game. The rams loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman, and Borrelli delivered an RBI single, Kyle Pileski followed with an RBI sac fly, and Kyle Dembrowski later drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk to tie the game.
Anthony Venuti followed with a 2-out smash down the third base line that Owls 3B Dooley dove to stop, then won a footrace to the bag to record the third out of the inning and preserve an 8-8 tie that would send the game to extra innings.
In the 12th, Crowley led off, reaching via a hit-by-pitch, advanced on a sacrifice bunt, and then scored on Murphy's hit to left to end the marathon.
Scott Strachan (4-3) earned the win in relief for the Owls, working the final 3.1 innings with scoreless relief. Nate Barnes started the game for the Owls, allowing just two hits over five innings, while surrendering three runs and six walks.