NORTHBORO, Mass. - A six-run third inning propelled the Saint Michael's College baseball team to a 6-3 victory over regionally-ranked Stonehill College in the second contest of a Thursday twinbill, helping the Purple Knights salvage a split at the New England Baseball Complex.
The Purple and Gold, which lost the opener 3-2 in 10 innings, is 5-15 overall and 1-4 in the Northeast-10 Conference, improving to 3-2 versus the Skyhawks since the beginning of the 2017 campaign. Stonehill stands ninth in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) East Region poll, and is now 10-8 and 3-2. Seven of the past nine meetings between the teams have been decided by four runs or less.
In game one, redshirt first-year Paul Prue (Dennis, Mass./Nauset Regional/Wheaton [Mass.]) tossed a two-hit shutout over six innings, striking out six and walking one in his finest collegiate outing before taking a no-decision. Junior Joe Robertson (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) was 3-for-4 with an RBI, a walk and a stolen base, and first-year Iset Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) finished 2-for-5 with two runs and a steal. Junior Trevor Allen (Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth Regional) knocked his 25th career double, tying Sean Finnell '94 and Seth Cole '01 for third in program history. Graduate student Nick Dorcean (Bellerose, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy/SUNY Old Westbury) took the loss after allowing all three runs - one earned - in 2.1 frames.
Junior Matthew Rocco and sophomore John Orzechowski both had two hits and a run for Stonehill, with Orzechowski doubling and stealing a base. Sophomore Michael White allowed both runs, with one earned, over seven innings with nine strikeouts and no walks, and senior Joe Klingensmith earned the win with 1.1 innings of no-hit, shutout relief.
First-year Cameron Kroeger's (Clearwater, Fla./Countryside) RBI groundout plated Maldonado with an unearned run in the first inning before Robertson's RBI knock pushed Maldonado across again to make it 2-0 in the third. Allen led off the fifth with a ground-rule double but moved no further than third.
After allowing a single to Rocco leading off the game, Prue set down 17 of his final 20 batters, allowing only Orzechowski to pick up a hit, beginning the sixth. Saint Michael's left two in scoring position in the eighth but still carried the 2-0 lead into the home half, where Orzechowski doubled and scored on a balk, and senior Tyler Carey later came home on an error to knot the game. First-year Holden Jackman (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) led off the ninth with a walk before junior pinch runner Harry Southworth (Taunton, Mass./Coyle & Cassidy) stole second with one down, but two of the next three batters flew to left, sandwiched around an intentional pass to Allen.
Sophomore Thomas Quinn was left as second in the home half, and a Purple Knight was cut down trying to steal second in the 10th before the hosts won it in the bottom half. After Rocco singled with one out, Carey laid down a sac bunt, but the ball was thrown away from the infield, allowing Carey to race home with the winning run.
In the second contest, first-year Danté Moran (Saint Petersburg, Fla./Dixie Hollins) was 2-for-4 with a run, and Robertson and sophomore Connor Hopkins (Windham, N.H./Windham) both drove in two runs and scored, with Hopkins doubling. Allen and Jackman both had a hit, an RBI and a walk, with Allen scoring, and first-year Julien Giroux-Harvey (Montreal, Québec/Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf) was hit twice by a pitch. Classmate Zach Rodgers (Parrish, Fla./Manatee) turned in his best collegiate outing, allowing one unearned run on four hits over seven innings, fanning six and walking one.
Senior Isiah Nunez finished 2-for-3 with an RBI for Stonehill, and sophomore Rob Duarte drove in two runs. Senior Patrick Hurley took the loss after yielding all six runs on seven hits in three innings.
Senior Alex Hurley scored an unearned run on Nunez's sac fly in the second inning to give the hosts an early lead, but Saint Michael's countered with six runs on six hits in the third. Allen came through with a tying RBI single before Robertson's two-run knock put the visitors on top. Hopkins ripped a two-out, two-run double then came around on Jackman's RBI single. Stonehill left a runner in scoring position in each the fourth, fifth and seventh innings before scoring twice in the eighth off of the bullpen, when Duarte knocked a two-out, two-run single. However, first-year Hunter Ruiz (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) retired the final four Skyhawk batters of the game, including two on strikes, as he fanned three during his relief appearance.
The Purple Knights complete their three-game season series with Stonehill on Monday, as the two teams square off at Northeastern University's Friedman Diamond in Brookline, Mass., for a 12 p.m. contest.