MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team stood tied with Saint Anselm College until the seventh inning of an eventual 6-1 loss on Wednesday at Sullivan Park. The Purple Knights are 4-14 overall and 0-3 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Hawks improved to 7-9 and 1-2, as each squad played its NE10 Northeast Division opener. Saint Anselm holds a slight 8-7 edge in the teams' past 15 meetings.
First-year Anthony Azpeitia (Tampa, Fla./King) was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base for the visitors, while classmate Iset Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) walked twice and scored a run. First-year Alex Mendez (Fallon, Nev./Churchill County) took a one-hitter into the seventh inning before allowing five earned runs on six hits in 6.1 frames, and classmate Danté Moran (Saint Petersburg, Fla./Dixie Hollins) added an RBI.
First-year Matthew Butigian finished 2-for-3 with a run, an RBI, a walk and a steal for the Hawks, and junior Aaron Crandall was 1-for-2 with two runs, an RBI, a walk, a double and two stolen bases. Classmate Connor Parent drove in two runs, and junior JJ Dunn worked eight five-hit innings during which he yielded only an unearned run for the win. He struck out six.
Junior Joe Robertson's (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) single leading off the second was the only hit by either side in the opening two and a half innings. In the home half of the third, Mendez retired the first two Hawks before consecutive walks were followed by senior Max Wadington's RBI single. The Purple Knights escaped what became a bases-loaded jam when Mendez induced a groundout and tied the game in the next frame, as Maldonado walked with one down, moved to third on an error, and came home on Moran's single to left field.
Saint Michael's threatened again in the fifth, stringing together two hits, a walk and a stolen base during a scoreless inning, as the visitors left two in scoring position, and two more were stranded in the seventh. With one down in the bottom half and the score knotted at one apiece, each of the next four Hawks picked up hits, with an outfield error bringing home the first run before Crandall's RBI double made it 3-1. Butigian added a run-scoring bunt single, and Parent came through with a two-out, two-run knock to cap a five-run inning.
First-year Cameron Kroeger (Clearwater, Fla./Countryside) and Joe Brady (Hanover, Mass./Bridgton Academy) led off the ninth inning with consecutive walks before Azpeitia drew another base on balls to load the sacks with two down, but the final batter popped up.
The Purple Knights remain on the road tomorrow to face regionally-ranked Stonehill College for a 10 a.m. doubleheader at the New England Baseball Complex in Northboro, Mass. The Skyhawks are ninth in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) East Region poll.