SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team stranded the tying run on third base in the final inning of a 3-2 loss in the opening game of a doubleheader at American International College on Thursday and then fell 11-7 in the nightcap at Richard F. Bedard Field in Northeast-10 Conference play. The Purple Knights slip to 8-19 overall and 2-12 in the league, while the Yellow Jackets move to 7-18 and 4-7. Both of Thursday's games were seven-inning affairs.
Junior Alex Holt (Framingham, Mass./Marian) went 2-for-3 in game one for Saint Michael's, while senior Nicky Elderton (Shelburne, Vt./Rice Memorial) went 1-for-3 with a solo home run to move into second place in school history with nine career homers. Senior Michael Dougherty (Albany, N.Y./Christian Brothers Academy/Schenectady County CC) went 1-for-3 with a walk, first-year Peter Bocchino (Saugus, Mass./The Governor's Academy) doubled in three at bats and scored a run, and sophomore Steven Auger (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton) stole one base. First-year Morgan Wilson (Reading, Mass./Exeter Township Senior) took the loss in relief after allowing one run on one hit with one strikeout in 2.1 innings. Sophomore Peter Cross (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe) surrendered two runs on four hits in the opening three innings for the no-decision.
Sophomore Chris Starcun (Easthampton, Mass./Easthampton) went 2-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored for American International, while first-year Alex LaFayette (Ludlow, Mass./Ludlow) homered and had two RBIs as part of his 1-for-3 day. Senior Lucas Vallas (East Northport, N.Y./Northport) went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk, and junior Tyler Geffert (Hopedale, Mass./Mount Saint Charles Academy) stole one base. Sophomore Mike Gentile III (Windsor Locks, Conn./Windsor Locks) yielded two runs on five hits with five strikeouts in six innings for the win and junior Colin Sledzik (Higganum, Conn./Haddam-Killingworth) had a strikeout in one inning for the save.
Following Starcun's leadoff single in the second, LaFayette blasted a two-run homer to left to give American International the early 2-0 lead. Vallas then doubled and sophomore K.J. White (Wilbraham, Mass./Minnechaug) walked before Cross escaped the inning with no more damage, aided by a no-out pickoff at second. Both teams then went scoreless in the third and fourth innings before Saint Michael's got on the board with a run in the fifth. Bocchino led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch before coming to score two batters later on a groundout as the Purple Knights cut the margin to 2-1.
In the home half of the fifth, junior Brett Bohl (Ludlow, Mass./Ludlow) and first-year Eugene Quirk (Matawan, N.J./Old Bridge) both drew no-out walks and got into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, but Wilson induced a groundout and a pop out to end the Yellow Jacket threat. Elderton later knotted up the score at 2-2 when he belted a two-out solo homer in the sixth, but American International grabbed a 3-2 lead with a solo shot of its own in the bottom of the sixth when Starcun homered to center field. With Saint Michael's trailing 3-2 in the seventh, Bocchino reached on a one-out error. Auger then came on as pinch-runner, stole second and got to third with two outs on another Yellow Jacket error before Sledzik was able to get a fly out to end the game.
During the nightcap, Dougherty turned in a 4-for-4 performance with a pair of doubles, three RBIs and one run scored, while Elderton went 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBIs, one run and one walk. Holt had an RBI and a walk and Salk picked up a hit, an RBI and a run scored. First-year Steve Knable (Manalapan, N.J./Saint John Vianney) was the second of five Purple Knight pitchers and he took the loss with three runs allowed on three hits in 0.2 innings after coming on in the second.
Starcun led the Yellow Jackets' 13-hit attack with a 3-for-3 showing to accompany his three runs scored, two doubles, two RBIs and one walk. White went 2-for-3 with one RBI, one walk, one run scored and one stolen base, while Vallas went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run. Graduate student Dave Clark (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield) was 2-for-2 with three runs scored, two RBIs and one walk, while Geffert doubled, scored two runs and provided an RBI and a stolen base. The Yellow Jackets also used five pitchers, with sophomore Brian Karp (Bellmore, N.Y./Kellenburg Memorial) coming in as the third reliever and earning the win with one hit allowed in two scoreless innings.
Following Elderton's RBI single in the top of the first to give the visitors a 1-0 lead, American International pushed across four runs in the next half inning aided by Clark's RBI single, Starcun's RBI double and Vallas' two-out, two-run homer. Saint Michael's scored three runs in the second, doing its damage with two outs thanks to Dougherty's two-run double and Salk's tying RBI single, but the Yellow Jackets led, 7-4, through two frames after picking up three runs in the home half. The hosts put up two runs in the fourth and led 9-4. After being held scoreless for three innings, Saint Michael's got back a run when Dougherty ripped a two-out RBI double in the sixth, giving the Purple Knights their fifth two-out run of the game. The hosts scored two more in the sixth for an 11-5 lead before Saint Michael's scored twice in the seventh as Elderton tripled in a run before coming home on Holt's one-out groundout.
The Purple Knights travel to Bentley University for a three-game NE-10 series this weekend, starting with a single contest at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.