Baseball Falls Twice to Bentley in NE10 Doubleheader, Loses Opener, 3-1

Baseball Falls Twice to Bentley in NE10 Doubleheader, Loses Opener, 3-1

WALTHAM, Mass. - The Saint Michael's College baseball team was swept by Bentley University, 3-1 and 10-2, in a Northeast-10 Conference doubleheader on Saturday at DeFelice Field. The Purple Knights are 5-21 overall and 1-10 in the league, while the Falcons improved to 15-12 and 9-3, extending their winning streak to six games. Saint Michael's played the home team during both contests, and has now lost eight times by two runs or less.

Junior Joe Robertson (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) was 2-for-4 with an RBI in the opener, while first-years Holden Jackman (Eliot, Maine/Marshwood) and Danté Moran (Saint Petersburg, Fla./Dixie Hollins) both had a hit and a walk. Classmate Zach Rodgers (Parrish, Fla./Manatee) allowed three runs in eight innings, carrying a shutout into the seventh, while fanning five and walking two but taking the loss. First-year Hunter Ruiz (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Junior Brandon Grover was 2-for-3 with a run, an RBI, a walk and a double for Bentley, while sophomore Max Troiani added two hits, a run and a stolen base. Graduate student Evan Walsh earned the win by allowing one run on five hits in 7.2 innings, striking out seven and walking two. First-year Jimmy Cunningham struck out three of the four batters he faced to earn the save.

Rodgers pitched around the first two Falcons reaching in the first inning, with a 4-6-3 double play ending the threat, before the Purple Knights took the lead with one run on three hits in the home half, as sophomore Connor Hopkins (Windham, N.H./Windham), Moran and Robertson all singled consecutively to begin the frame. Robertson's RBI knock made it 1-0, but Bentley pitching yielded only two hits to the final 30 hitters.

With two in scoring position in the fifth inning and one down, Rodgers picked up a strikeout and got the final out on a fly ball to Hopkins in center field, and Troiani was left on second in the sixth. In a 1-0 game, Grover led off the seventh with a double before Rodgers retired the next two batters on fly balls, but sophomore Luke Figueira came through with a game-tying RBI single. Grover's RBI single plated the winning run during a two-run eighth inning before Hopkins reached on a two-out error in the home half and Robertson walked. However, Cunningham came out of the bullpen to pick up a strikeout, and both teams went down 1-2-3 in the ninth.

Hopkins was 2-for-5 with a run, double and stolen base in the nightcap, and first-year Iset Maldonado (Brooklyn, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) finished 2-for-3 with a walk. Classmate Julien Giroux-Harvey (Montreal, Québec/Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf) walked twice and stole a base, and first-year Alex Mendez (Fallon, Nev./Churchill County) took the loss after yielding seven runs - five earned - in 4.1 innings. Ruiz tossed a scoreless 0.2 innings before senior Colin Brennan (Braintree, Mass./Boston College HS) pitched 2.2 frames of no-hit, shutout relief.

Senior Mike Samko went 3-for-5 with a run for Bentley, and four teammates had two hits, with graduate student Nathan Littman driving in two and doubling. Junior Paul Frisoli allowed two runs in five innings for the win before first-year Ronald Orie III earned a four-inning save, shutting the Purple Knights out on three hits.

Bentley broke on the board in the top of the first inning, with Troiani tripling with two down and scoring on an error, but Saint Michael's countered with two runs on three hits in the home half. After Hopkins singled and stole second, junior Trevor Allen (Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth Regional) knocked an RBI single before coming around on first-year Cameron Kroeger's (Clearwater, Fla./Countryside) RBI double. The Purple Knights put runners at the corners with no one out in a scoreless second, and the Falcons scored six times over the next three innings, including stringing together three run-scoring hits with two down in the third.

Maldonado and Giroux-Harvey both walked in a scoreless fourth, and Robertson doubled with two out in the fifth but moved no further, the first of five straight innings Saint Michael's registered a two-out base runner but did not score. Bentley scored three times on five ninth-inning hits, with Littman knocking a two-run single.

The Purple Knights are scheduled to play their next five games at home, beginning by taking on regionally-ranked Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. The Penmen are third in the latest New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) poll while sitting fifth in the most recent National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) East Region rankings.