Purple Knights fall at nationally-ranked Southern New Hampshire

MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team headed to Manchester, N.H., for the second straight day on Thursday for a Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division game, falling to nationally-ranked Southern New Hampshire University, 8-1, at Penmen Field. The Purple Knights are 7-17 overall and 1-6 in the league, while the Penmen, who are seventh in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) poll, are 30-4 and 6-1.

Sophomore Chris Puliafico (Sharon, Mass./Sharon) smacked a pinch-hit double, while senior Bryan Geary (Milton, Vt./Milton/Skidmore) and sophomore Jason Moore (Avon, Conn./Northwest Catholic) also had hits for Saint Michael's. Freshman Nicky Elderton (Shelburne, Vt./Rice Memorial) walked three times.

Junior Andrew DuPrat (Fairfax, Vt./BFA-Fairfax) yielded six earned runs over four innings, taking the loss, before senior Jesse Sullivan (Saugus, Mass./Pingree School) and sophomore Nick Myers (Canton, Conn./The Master's School) combined for four one-hit innings of shutout relief. Myers fanned four while tossing the fifth and sixth before Sullivan struck out three during the seventh and eighth.

Junior Matt Boulter (Wrentham, Mass./Bishop Feehan) was 3-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs and a double for Southern New Hampshire, while freshman Bryan Toland (Wildwood, N.J./Wildwood Catholic) went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Senior Brad Monroe (Hampton, N.H./Winnacunnet) tossed eight shutout innings, striking out 11.

Southern New Hampshire got on the board quickly with a pair of first-inning runs, as Toland knocked a two-RBI single to plate a pair of unearned runs. Geary singled with two out in the second but was stranded, and the Penmen scored twice more in the third, with Boulter and Toland each driving in teammates.

Four more runs came around in the fourth on three consecutive run-scoring hits with one out, but Myers and Sullivan combined to blank Southern New Hampshire from that point. The Penmen finished 1-for-15 with a walk over the final 4.2 innings. Saint Michael's plated its run in the ninth, as Elderton walked with two down, moved to third on Puliafico's double, and scored on a wild pitch with the hosts one batter away from posting a shutout.

The Purple Knights open a three-game weekend series with Merrimack College on Saturday with a 12 p.m. doubleheader on Doc Jacobs Field.