Saint Michael's falls to fourth regionally-ranked foe during Florida trip

LANTANA, Fla. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team fell to regionally-ranked Palm Beach Atlantic (Fla.) University, 13-4, on Saturday during the Palm Beach Challenge at the Santaluces Sports Complex. Now 3-6, the Purple Knights have suffered four setbacks to squads that were regionally ranked, one of which was also nationally ranked, as 16-6 Palm Beach Atlantic is 10th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's (NCBWA) South Region poll. Saint Michael's is receiving votes toward the NCBWA's East Region rankings.

Sophomore Don McGuirl (Warwick, R.I./Saint Sebastian's School) was 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Purple Knights, while classmate Nicky Elderton (Shelburne, Vt./Rice Memorial) added two hits. Junior Corey Livingston (Manchester, Conn./East Catholic) was 1-for-2 with two walks and scored twice. Seven pitchers saw time, with first-year Rich Reo (Cranston, R.I./Cranston West) taking the loss in his first college start.

First-year Sean Visconti (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) was 5-for-5 with four RBIs for the Sailfish, and junior A.J. Steimel (Scottsdale, Ariz./Central Arizona) was a triple shy of the cycle, finishing 3-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs. Senior Jonathan Kies (Coral Springs, Fla./Highlands Christian) allowed one earned run over seven innings with seven strikeouts to take the win.

After the Purple Knights put two on with two out in a scoreless top of the first, the first four Palm Beach Atlantic batters reached in the home half, but the hosts produced only one run. Junior Tyler Wild's (Quaker Hill, Conn./Saint Bernard School) two-out RBI single knotted the game in the second, and sophomore George Buteau (Burlington, Vt./Trinity-Pawling School) provided a third-inning sacrifice fly to put Saint Michael's ahead, 2-1.

From there, the Sailfish scored the next eight runs over five innings. Steimel's two-out, two-run homer highlighted a four-run third, and he added a two-run double in the fifth. Visconti tacked on a two-run single in the seventh to make the score 9-2. Junior Chris Puliafico (Sharon, Mass./Sharon) and McGuirl provided back-to-back two-out RBI singles in the eighth, but Visconti's two-run knock in the bottom portion of the frame keyed an inning during which all four runs scored with two down.

The Purple Knights conclude their 10-game Spring Break trip to Florida tomorrow when they take on Hillsdale (Mich.) College for the second time in three days at 10:30 a.m. Hillsdale sits eighth in the Midwest Region rankings.