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Matt Nash goes the distance for Bethlehem in win

The Bethlehem baseball team withstood a last-inning rally to edge Columbia 4-3 Monday in a Suburban Council Gold Division game.

The Eagles led 4-1 entering the seventh inning before the Blue Devils made a last-ditch attempt at winning their first Suburban Council game of the season.

A win's a win, but they came back on us and fought very hard, said Bethlehem coach Rob Helm. "Matt Nash pitched a great game and closed the door on them in the last inning."

Nash fell into a groove after a shaky start. The senior allowed five hits and walked six, but he struck out 10 batters.

"He's going to pitch (NCAA) Division I next year, and he showed it in this game," Helm said of Nash.

Bethlehem's offense didn't get going until the third inning. After a leadoff walk to Alex Sobiecki, Mike Fish drilled an RBI double to put the Eagles on the scoreboard. Will DeRuve singled Fish home and later scored on a wild pitch to give Bethlehem a 3-1 lead.

"Once the second rotation (through the lineup) began, the boys figured (Columbia's pitcher) out," said Helm. "We don't see a lot of lefty pitchers because we don't have a lefty on our own staff. After the boys saw what they were up against, we were able to do some damage."

Designated hitter Chris Reidel added an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning to give Nash a three-run cushion " one that he needed after walking three batters and throwing two wild pitches in the top of the seventh to give Columbia two runs. But he struck out the last two batters he faced to preserve his complete-game win.

The victory over Columbia came two days after Bethlehem split a Saturday doubleheader with a pair of Big 10 teams. The Eagles defeated Catholic Central 13-0 in the first game behind a three-hit, 10-strikeout effort from pitcher Randy Bowers and a Matt Branigan home run. They then lost to Albany 5-1 in the afternoon contest.

Bethlehem returns to action Wednesday when it hosts Niskayuna.""

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