HAVERHILL, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team was swept in a pair of close contests with regionally-ranked Southern Connecticut State University, 3-2 and 3-0, on Sunday in non-league play at Trinity Stadium. The Purple Knights slipped to 0-3 after yielding the winning run on a walk-off double in the opener and outhitting the Owls in game two. Southern Connecticut State, which played the home team in both contests, is 5-5 while tying for 10th in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) East Region poll. Both games were seven innings.
Senior Michael Dougherty (Albany, N.Y./Christian Brothers Academy/Schenectady County CC) and sophomore Steven Auger (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton) both went 2-for-3 for Saint Michael's in the opener, with Auger rapping the first two hits of his career. Dougherty was also hit by a pitch and stole a base. Senior Nicky Elderton (Shelburne, Vt./Rice Memorial) walked twice and scored once, while first-year Peter Bocchino (Saugus, Mass./The Governor's Academy) doubled. Junior Curt Echo (Shelburne, Vt./Champlain Valley Union) yielded just two earned runs on five hits in 6.1 innings.
Junior Nilson Ibert (Bronx, N.Y./Norman Thomas/Monroe) stroked the game-winning, pinch-hit, RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning for the Owls. Sophomore Ethan Joyce (Exeter, N.H./Exeter) was 2-for-2 with a run, and first-year Griffin Bremer (Higganum, Conn./Haddam-Killingworth) earned the win after pitching a scoreless seventh. Junior Mike Yerina (Trumbull, Conn./Trumbull) allowed no earned runs on five hits while striking out eight during the opening six frames.
Senior Julian Sobin (Ansonia, Conn./Ansonia/Dean) led off the Southern Connecticut State second inning with a double before scoring on a one-out error, but the Purple Knights scored a pair of unearned runs of their own in the fourth to nab a 2-1 lead. Senior Don McGuirl (Warwick, R.I./Saint Sebastian's School) lofted a sacrifice fly, but the relay throw from the outfield hit Elderton as he scored and ricocheted out of play, allowing senior George Buteau (Burlington, Vt./Trinity-Pawling School) to be awarded home.
Saint Michael's looked to pad its lead in the fifth, loading the bases with two outs on hits by Auger and Dougherty and a walk by junior Matt Feeney (Portsmouth, N.H./Portsmouth), but Yerina struck out the final batter. Bocchino was stranded after doubling with two down in the sixth, and senior Joe Breen (Nashua, N.H./Nashua North) came through with a tying RBI double in the home half. Another Purple Knight rally began with two out in the seventh, as Dougherty singled and stole second before being left in scoring position. Junior Alex Wichmann (Granby, Conn./Millbrook School) led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk, moved to second on a sac bunt and came home on Ibert's pinch-hit two-bagger.
In game two, the Purple Knights held a 7-6 edge in hits, knocking four doubles. Feeney was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, and Buteau had one double during his 2-for-3 performance. Dougherty also doubled. Senior Will Corkum (Ipswich, Mass./Ipswich) allowed three runs on five hits over five innings, striking out seven versus one walk. He matched the career high in strikeouts he set last year against the same Southern Connecticut State squad.
Senior Nick Baviello (Orange, Conn./Amity) had two doubles while driving in all three Owl runs, and redshirt junior Matt Burns (Cheshire, Conn./Xavier) was 2-for-3 with two runs. Redshirt senior A.J. Turnier (Waterford, Conn./Waterford) spun a seven-hit shutout with four strikeouts and zero walks.
Baviello doubled home Joyce in the first inning for the only run Southern Connecticut State ended up needing. Feeney's leadoff two-bagger when for naught the following frame, and Saint Michael's began the third with runners on the corners with one down before a caught stealing and a strikeout ended the threat. Baviello's sac fly plated Burns in the third, and the Purple Knights again tried rallying the following inning, but Buteau and Feeney were left in scoring position after beginning the frame with consecutive doubles. Baviello added a run-scoring double in the fifth.
Saint Michael's begins an eight-game Florida trip on Monday, March 16, with an 11:30 a.m. doubleheader against the University of Minnesota Crookston in Clearwater, Fla.