COLCHESTER, Vt. - Saint Michael's College baseball first-year Zach Rodgers (Parrish, Fla./Manatee) yielded only one earned run over eight innings on Friday, but the Purple Knights fell to Saint Anselm College, 2-0, at Doc Jacobs Field during Northeast-10 Conference play. The Purple and Gold is 6-27 overall and 1-14 in the league, while the Hawks are 10-21 and 4-13. Three of the last five meetings were decided by two runs or fewer.
Rodgers yielded six hits and both runs while striking out five and walking one. He also picked off three runners while holding the visitors' top four in the lineup to a 0-for-15 performance. It was the fifth time in eight starts that Rodgers allowed three runs or less this season. First-years Cameron Kroeger (Clearwater, Fla./Countryside) and Danté Moran (Saint Petersburg, Fla./Dixie Hollins) both finished 2-for-3 with a walk, while Kroeger also doubled. Senior Colin Brennan (Braintree, Mass./Boston College HS) worked a shutout ninth inning. Saint Michael's has suffered 11 setbacks by three runs or fewer.
Junior JJ Dunn tossed a seven-hit shutout for Saint Anselm, striking out three and walking three. Senior John Marculitis was 3-for-4 with a run and two doubles, and sophomore Blaine Johnson III had a double, a run and an RBI.
The Purple Knights threatened in the bottom of the first inning, as first-year Joe Webber (Marshfield, Mass./Bridgton Academy) legged out an infield single and Moran walked to put two on with none out. However, a foul pop led to the first out before Dunn induced an inning-ending double play. Saint Anselm scored both of its runs in the following frame. After Rodgers set down the first two Hawks, Marculitis beat out a chopper to the third base side of the mound before Johnson dropped a double just inside the left-field line to make it 1-0. A passed ball moved the runner 90 feet, and an infield error plated him.
The hosts again started the home half with consecutive base runners, as Kroeger and junior Sean Winthrop (Hopkinton, Mass./Lawrence Academy) singled, but the next three Purple Knights were set down. Rodgers pitched around three base runners in the third inning before allowing only two total in the ensuing three frames. Kroeger doubled with one out in the fourth before being cut down trying to stretch to a triple, and Saint Michael's loaded the bases with two down in the sixth, but the final batter grounded out. Marculitis doubled to lead off the seventh, but third baseman Moran made a nice play on a sacrifice bunt attempt to catch him trying to take third. Rodgers left two Hawks in scoring position with his second straight strikeout.
First-year Holden Jackman (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) led off the seventh with a knock but moved no further, and Moran began the eighth with a single before a double play squelched the threat. Marculitis doubled with one down in the ninth, but a pair of defensive gems prevented the run from scoring, with Moran diving to his left for a pick-up and throw for the second out and first-year shortstop Iset Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) ranging up the middle to field a grounder for the third out. Dunn set the hosts down 1-2-3 in the bottom half.
The Purple Knights begin a three-game weekend series at Assumption College tomorrow with a 12 p.m. doubleheader.