Purple Knights lead regionally-ranked Stonehill into eighth inning of 4-3 loss

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team suffered its ninth one-run loss of the season on Saturday, dropping a narrow 4-3 decision to regionally-ranked Stonehill College during a Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division contest at Doc Jacobs Field.

The Purple Knights are now 8-18 overall and 1-7 in the division, while the Skyhawks are 18-12-1 and 4-2-1. Stonehill is fifth in the latest New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) poll. The teams conclude a three-game series with a doubleheader set for a 12 p.m. start tomorrow.

Junior Nick Nelson (Spofford, N.H./Keene) was 2-for-4 with an RBI, a run and a double for the Purple Knights, while sophomore George Buteau (Burlington, Vt./Trinity-Pawling School) also had two hits and an RBI. Four others had one hit, including junior Alec Tice (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford), who also walked and scored. Sophomore Barry Maily (Moosup, Conn./Plainfield) took the loss after yielding two runs in 1.2 innings of relief.

Junior Dan Fratus (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth North) homered for the visitors, and classmate Anthony Pagano (Cranston, R.I./Cranston West/Elms) doubled twice and scored. Junior Billy Karalis (Pawtucket, R.I./Bishop Feehan) was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and sophomore Jim Duff (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City) earned the win after yielding three unearned runs over seven innings. Classmate Armand Rugel (Middletown, R.I./Middletown) collected the four-out save, retiring all four batters he faced.

Saint Michael's senior starter Andrew DuPrat (Fairfax, Vt./BFA-Fairfax) faced a bases-loaded, two-out situation in the first inning before retiring the final hitter, and the hosts also stranded a pair in the home half. Karalis' third-inning RBI double provided the first run of the game, and Fratus hit a leadoff solo homer in the fifth.

After putting together three hits in the opening five innings combined, the Purple Knights employed three hits and two key errors to take the lead during a three-run fifth frame. Following a two-out infield miscue, Nelson singled to right center to plate Tice, and Buteau singled into right field to score senior Jacob Begnoche (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) before Nelson came around on an outfield error.

With Stonehill down 3-2 in the seventh and a runner on second with one out, Begnoche dove in left field to secure the second out before doubling the runner off second base. However, Stonehill used a squeeze-turned-single by sophomore Matt Anziano (Belchertown, Mass./Belchertown) to tie the game in the eighth inning before Anziano scored the eventual winning run on a wild pitch later in the frame.

Nelson doubled with two down in the eighth, but Rugel came on to retire the final four Purple Knights.