Baseball Falls To Caldwell, Tops Palm Beach Atlantic In Dramatic Fashion
Begnoche guns runner at plate from right field to knock off Sailfish
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LANTANA, Fla. – The Saint Michael's College baseball team (4-5) fell to Caldwell, 7-6, before topping Palm Beach Atlantic, 2-1, in the second to last day of Florida action on Friday. Sophomore pitcher Andrew Kelley (Lincoln, N.H./Lin-Wood) tossed 7.1 innings and struck out 11 for the win, and sophomore right fielder Jacob Begnoche (Essex Jct., Vt./Essex (Univ. of Vermont)) gunned out a runner attempting to tag from third base in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.
For Saint Michael's, junior Bryan Geary (Milton, Vt./Milton) had five hits on the day including four hits in game one. Junior Tim McDonnell (Durham, N.H./Oyster River) recorded three hits, and sophomore Collin Fishman (Bethesda, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) and freshman Alec Tice (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) tallied a hit in each game.
In the nightcap, the Purple Knights scored both their runs in the fifth inning. Freshman Nick Nelson (Spofford, N.H./Keene) led off with a double down the leftfield line and Begnoche smoked a double off the 400-foot sign in centerfield just out of the fielder's reach, which only allowed Nelson to advance to third. Junior Ben Mitchell (Pembroke, N.H./Pembroke Academy) beat out a chopper to shortstop to bring home the first run, and freshman Tyler Wild (Quaker Hill, Conn./Saint Bernard School) hustled down the line to avoid a 4-6-3 double play and plate the second Saint Michael's run.
The Sailfish picked up a run in the fifth on back-to-back singles, and Kelley escaped a jam in the sixth inning after he surrendered a leadoff single and Wild botched a double play ball. With runners at first and second, Wild found redemption as he began a slick 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Purple Knights nearly gave up the lead when Kelley gave up a leadoff double. The next batter mishandled a 3-1 bunt attempt, popping out to Kelley who was charging off the mound. The sophomore hurler left the game after 137 pitches, seven hits and one earned run. Freshman Corey Livingston (Hartford, Conn./East Catholic) entered the game in relief and worked a sharp ground ball up the middle. Wild made a diving stop to freeze the runner at third, got to his knees and fired to first for the second out. A lineout to right field got the Purple Knights out of the inning unscathed.
Things didn't look good for Saint Michael's in the ninth either, as a dropped infield popup and a throwing error on the ensuing sacrifice bunt put Sailfish on first and second with no one out. Sophomore closer Rob McCarty (Canton, Mass./Canton) came in to make the stop, and got the first out on another bunt that pushed the runners to second and third. The next hitter lifted a fly ball to right field, just deep enough for the runner on third to try to score. Begnoche got behind it, caught the ball and fired a rocket to home plate that one-hopped into Mitchell's glove in plenty of time for him to make the tag and end the game.
In game one, Geary had a career-best four hits with a double and two runs scored. Junior captain Austin Ziskie (Chevy Chase, Md./Bethesda Chevy Chase) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before running into trouble. The Cougars scored five runs on eight hits between the sixth and seventh innings, but Ziskie left the game after the seventh with a chance for the win after striking out six and walking none.
Saint Michael's took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when junior Chad Estey (New Haven, Vt./Mount Abraham Union) scored on a passed ball. The Purple Knights added another run in the sixth on an RBI single by Estes, but Caldwell tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom half of the inning. Freshman Phil Ragusa (Staten Island, N.Y./Saint Joseph by the Sea) broke up Ziskie's no-hitter with a chopper into left field, moved over on a bunt and scored on a single to center by junior Joe Doerrer (Middletown, N.J./Raritan). Back-to-back singles by sophomore Anthony Morena (Westbury, N.Y./Holy Cross) and junior Jorge Ynoa (Bayside, N.Y./Bayside) made for three hits in a row and a tie game.
Caldwell strung together another big inning in the seventh, rapping out four hits for three runs. The Purple Knights answered in the top of the eighth with four runs on five hits to take a 6-5 lead. Fishman doubled down the left field line to lead off the inning and moved to third on Geary's third hit of the day. Estey promptly tripled off the left centerfield wall to score Fishman and Geary, and came around with the go-ahead run on an Estes single to right center.
Junior Chris Hoey (Huntington, N.Y./Saint Anthony's) came on in relief for Saint Michael's in the eighth but struggled to find the zone. Hoey walked the leadoff man and surrender a single before leaving the game with runners on first and third. McCarty replaced Hoey, who was saddled with the loss after his runners scored on the back end of an attempted 5-4-3 double play. Caldwell freshman Joe O'Donnell (Belleville, N.H./Belleville) hit what nearly was an inning-ending double-play ball but narrowly beat the throw at first to allow the tying and go-ahead runs to score.
The Purple Knights finish their string of 11 games in Florida tomorrow with a rematch against Palm Beach Atlantic at 12:30 p.m. and a final game against Merrimack at 4:30 p.m.