Pictured is Grace's Sam Newkirk
Pictured is Grace's Sam Newkirk
WESTFIELD - Grace’s baseball team celebrated its third walk-off win of the season to kick off the four-game series with Trinity Christian on Thursday afternoon.

Sam Newkirk delivered his second late-game clutch moment of the season, this time with a three-run homer to take game one.

Windy conditions were prevalent throughout the day as the Lancers (6-3) took game one 9-7 and dropped the second game to the Trolls 15-7.

Grace held a commanding 6-1 lead after plating five runs in the fourth inning. Back-to-back solo homeruns from Jeff Pawlik and Grant Hartley broke the 1-1 tie. Sam Newkirk followed with a line drive double and later scored on an error. Maximo De Leon laced a two-out triple to score two runs and push the lead to five.

Evan Etchison pitched five innings with six strikeouts before exiting with a no decision. He ran into some trouble in the sixth as the Trolls were able to draw within a run.

Trinity Christian was able to plate the go-ahead run in top of the seventh. A pair of doubles brought home two runs to give the visitors the narrow advantage.

Down to their final out, the Lancers had runners on first and second. In stepped Newkirk, who already had one walk-off hit to his credit this season. He drove a 2-2 pitch over the right field fence to send the dugout into a frenzy with a 9-7 victory.

Hunter Schumacher earned the win for Grace with two innings of relief out of the bullpen.

Newkirk, who is hitting .400 on the season, went 2 for 4 with a homer, 3 RBI and 2 runs. De Leon added 3 hits, 3 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Pawlik was 1 for 2 with 2 runs, 1 RBI, a walk and a hit by pitch.

The Lancers were ahead again early in game two. Pawlik added his second roundtripper of the day to plate a run. Sean Gannon scampered around for a triple to tie the game at two, and John Joyce singled up the middle to give Grace the lead. Two more runs went on the board in the third to push the score to 5-2.

The Trolls responded, scoring 13 runs over the final four innings, to put the game out of reach.

Grace was able to add two runs in sixth, but the damage had already been done. Gannon laced his second triple of the game and scored on a Bradyn McIntosh double. Mason Meyer followed with an RBI single to finish the scoring for the Lancers.

Three Lancer hitters recorded a multi-hit game, and six players were credited with an RBI.

The Lancers will conclude the series against the Trolls at the friendly confines of Miller Athletic Complex. Saturday marks the home opener with first pitch scheduled for 12:30 p.m.