Middlebury rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth inning and took the lead in the 10th, but host Stevens scored twice in its final at bat to secure a 5-4 victory over the Panthers on Saturday in New Jersey. Middlebury (0-1) heads to Atlanta next weekend for a three-game series with Emory, starting with a doubleheader on Saturday and a single contest the following day.
Middlebury plated its first run of the season in its initial at bat, as Justin Han reached on an infield single and later scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Sam Graf, who was playing in his 100th career game.
The Ducks (2-4) took the lead in the bottom half of the first with two runs, but the visitors had a chance to get back on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. Middlebury had runners on second and third with two outs and Stevens pitcher Danny Poidomani induced Ryan Hanrahan into a fly out to center field.
Panther pitcher Colby Morris thwarted a Duck threat in bottom of the fifth frame, picking off a runner at second base to end the inning.
Stevens made it a 3-1 game in the last of the seventh when A.J. Falconite walked with the bases loaded, forcing home Eric Zickert.
In the top of the ninth, the Panthers staged a two-run rally to knot the score at 3-3. Hanrahan singled up the middle to plate Brooks Carroll, before Gray Goolsby flied out along the right-field line, bringing in Henry Strmecki.
The Panthers took the lead (4-3) in the top of the 10th when Carroll drove home Han from third base with an infield hit.
The Ducks won the game in the bottom of the frame when J.C. Hanley tied the contest with a sacrifice fly to left, but a throwing error allowed Donny Gherardi to score the deciding run from first base.
Carroll finished with a pair of hits for Middlebury, with Han crossing home plate twice. Morris allowed two runs on three hits with four strikeouts, while Colin Waters (0-1) took the loss in three innings of relief. He allowed one earned run on four hits.
James drove in a pair of runs with a double for the Ducks, while Falconite went 1-2 with a pair of walks. Joseph Deitz (1-0) picked up the win for Stevens in 1.2 innings of relief work.