Baseball Clinches Playoff Spot with Conference Split
PROVIDENCE, R.I.-- Mark McCormack (Shelton, Conn.) ended the first game on senior day in dramatic fashion to send the Beacons (18-20-1, 6-7 Little East) back to the Little East Conference Tournament for the eight straight season. The senior center fielder ended a four hour and eleven minute marathon with a walk-off, two-run double in the 12th inning to give the Beacons a come-from-behind 9-8 victory over Rhode Island College (25-15, 9-5 Little East) in game one of the doubleheader. The host Anchormen did bounce back in the shortened nightcap as they earned a 4-2 win in five innings to earn the split with the Beacons Saturday afternoon at Anchorman Field.
McCormack was the biggest hero on senior day, on a day in which he and four other teammates were honored. He finished 4-for-6 with three RBI, two runs and the game-winning hit in the opener. He then continued to swing a hot bat in the nightcap as he went 2-for-3. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the twelfth with the Beacons trailing 8-7, McCormack stepped up and sent a ball sailing over the left fielder's head to easily score Patrick Noble (Somerville, Mass.) and Patrick Murphy (Stamford, Conn.).
Getting the win in relief for the Beacons was Will Barrack (Lancaster, Va.). The 6'5" sophomore went the final two innings and allowed just one run on two hits, while striking out a team-high three Anchormen to improve to a 3-1 on the season.
The Anchormen opened up game one with a pair of runs in the top of the first, as Allaire and senior catcher J.P. Stone led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Senior left fielder Brent Hopkins followed with a double down the left field line to plate Allaire and give RIC a 1-0 lead. Moments later, Stone scored on an RBI fielder's choice from sophomore designated hitter Alex Verrecchia to stake the Anchormen to an early, 2-0, lead.
The Beacons responded in the bottom half of the frame with a run of their own, as senior center fielder McCormack who led off the stanza with a single to right field, came around to score on an RBI single from junior second baseman Matt Consiglio (Southbury, Conn.).
In the bottom of the third, senior left fielder Ty Buccetti (Wallingford, Conn.) led off the inning with a bunt single, which was followed by senior third baseman Mike Mattei's (Spencer, Mass.) single up the middle to put a pair of runners on base. After sophomore shortstop Jamill Moquette (Boston, Mass.) ripped a single to right field to drive in Buccetti and knot the game at two, Mattei and Moquette each stole second and third respectively to get into scoring position. After Consiglio drew a walk to load the bases, senior designated hitter Wilberto Sanjurjo (Boston, Mass.) knocked in Mattei with an infield single, giving UMass Boston a 3-2 lead.
The Beacons extended their lead to two in the bottom of the fourth as Mattei laced an RBI single to center field to score senior first baseman Pat Lynch (Middletown, RI).
However, the Anchormen came back to pull within a run in the top of the fifth after an RBI double from senior first baseman Dan Hopkins plated Stone, who reached on a one-out single.
UMass Boston scratched another run in the bottom half of the frame as Consiglio, who led off the inning with a double off the left field fence, came around to score on a wild pitch, making it, 5-3, UMB.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Beacons added two more runs to take a 7-3 lead. After a leadoff single from Buccetti, McCormack launched a double to left field that plated Buccetti for the first run of the frame. Moments later, McCormack would come around to score on an RBI triple to right field from Moquette to increase UMB's lead.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, a resilient Rhode Island College squad rallied for four runs to tie the game at seven. The Anchormen used clutch hitting to chip away at the Beacons lead and eventually tie the game at 7-7.
Both teams had opportunities to strike in the ninth, 10th, and 11th innings, but neither offense could capitalize. The Anchormen tallied the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th as Carey singled to left field, stole second base, reached third on a passed ball, and then came around to score on an RBI fielder's choice from Dan Hopkins, giving RIC the 8-7 lead.
However, the Beacons stormed back to pull off the victory with just one out in the bottom of the 12th. Sophomore catcher Taylor Kapulka (Worcester, Mass.) singled to spearhead the rally, freshman pinch hitter Murphy followed with a walk, and junior leftfielder Nick Grassetti (Agawam, Mass.) chopped an infield single to the shortstop to load the bases. From there McCormack would do what he does best and with one swing of the bat ended the Beacons five-game skid to earn their final conference win of the regular season.
Junior reliever Chris Mann was tagged with the loss (0-1).
UMass Boston junior starting pitcher Daniel Heefner (Tracy, Calif.) tossed six solid innings, allowing three runs on 11 hits while walking one and striking out one.
Senior relief pitchers Mike DeWald and Eric Blanchard tossed a combined five scoreless innings of relief for the Anchormen. DeWald gave up just two hits and one walk in two innings while striking out three. Blanchard didn't surrender a hit, while allowing just one walk and striking out one in three shutout frames.
The Anchormen struck first in game two as Dan Hopkins kick-started the offense with a two-out single up the middle. Two batters later, Mustafa laced a single to center field, scoring Dan Hopkins and giving RIC the early, 1-0, lead.
The Beacons bounced back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second to take a 2-1 lead. Sanjurjo opened the frame with a single to left field and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Lynch laid down a bunt single to advance Sanjurjo to third, with Sanjurjo scoring moments later on a sacrifice fly from Buccetti. After McCormack singled to put runners on the corners, a costly Anchormen throwing error allowed Lynch to score from third and tie the game at two.
Rhode Island College answered back in the top of the fourth to retake the lead. Freshman right fielder Dean Grasso led off the inning with a single to right field. He then stole second base, advanced to third on a ground ball and scored on a sacrifice fly to right field from Ortega. Carey followed with a double to center field and then was driven home on an RBI single from Allaire, putting RIC on top, 4-2.
The game was called after five innings because of darkness, giving the Anchormen the, 4-2, victory.
Freshman starting pitcher Dylan Cummiskey earned the win and improves to 3-1 on the year. In five innings, he scattered two runs on five hits and walk, while striking out five.
Junior starting pitcher Michael Boughton (New Britain, Conn.) was charged with the loss (2-3).
McCormack led the Beacons offensively as he went 6-for-9 with two doubles, three RBI, and two runs scored. Moquette finished 3-for-8 with two RBI, a triple, and a stolen base. Sanjurjo and Buccetti each finished the afternoon with three hits as well.
Allaire led the Anchormen with a 5-for-8 performance at the dish. He finished with a double, two RBI, two runs scored, and two stolen bases. Stone went 4-for-9 with two RBI and three runs scored, while Grasso, Mustafa, and Dan Hopkins each finished with four hits as well.
Between the two games, the Beacons recognized their five senior members in Buccetti, Lynch, Mattei, Sanjurjo, and McCormack. They also took a moment to welcome back former team member Tim Fontaine who was on hand at Friday's contest.
Information for this release provided by Rhode Island College Sports Information Department