BROCKTON, Mass.—UMass Boston baseball's (22-13, 9-5 Little East) eight seniors all produced in a big way, as the Beacons swept visiting Western Connecticut State University (17-20, 5-9 Little East) 16-7 and 9-0 on Senior Day at Campanelli Stadium.
Prior to Friday's first pitch, UMass Boston held a special ceremony for their eight seniors: Chris Adams (Whitman, Mass.), Josh Cummiskey (Lowell, Mass.), Todd Ezold (Westfield, Mass.), Bryan Failla (Torrington, Conn.), Charlie LaPaglia (Marshfield, Mass.), Steve Roche (Worcester, Mass.), Kyle Szatrowski (Agawam, Mass.) and Harlan Zeerip (Bridgewater, Mass.).
The Beacons two conference wins set a new program-record, as the Beacons finished in a three-way tie for second in the Little East Conference with their 9-5 conference mark. In the 18-year existence of LEC Baseball, UMass Boston had never finished better than 8-6. With their two wins, the Beacons also moved into second-place in program history with their 22 overall wins, behind only the 2010 team that went 32-17, and earned a spot in the College World Series.
Friday's sweep also pushed the Beacons' winning streak to a season-high five games. The five-game streak is the longest for a Beacons' team since 2010, when the Beacons won nine in a row, including sweeping through the LEC and New England Regional Tournaments.
UMass Boston and Western Connecticut State will have the weekend off, before they travel to Gorham, Maine to take part in the 2015 Little East Conference Tournament. The Beacons will be the fourth-seed and take on third-seeded Rhode Island College on Wednesday, while Western will be the sixth seed and take on top-seeded and host the University of Southern Maine.
Ezold had the best day of his collegiate career, as the senior catcher finished 7-for-10 with five doubles, four runs and three RBI. In game one, he set a new program-record, as he recorded four doubles in a single-game.
Game One: UMass Boston 16, Western Connecticut State 7
Senior lefty Kyle Szatrowski (Agawam, Mass.) shut down the Colonials bats early, and Ezold led a 17-hit attack in the Beacons 16-7 game one victory.
Szatrowski struck out a career-best nine batters and allowed just three hits and one run scored to earn his fourth win of the season. With the victory, the senior southpaw moved into a tie for second-place in program history for career wins (14) with Steve Cahill ('93) and UMass Boston Hall of Famer Nick Conway ('08).
Roche and Zeerip pitched the final four innings of the win, with Zeerip allowing just two hits and one walk over the final 2.1 innings.
Offensively, Ezold led the charge with his best collegiate game, as he finished 5-for-5 with four runs and three RBI out of the cleanup spot. After a single in the first inning, Ezold hit doubles in the third, fourth, sixth and eighth innings to set a new program-mark for doubles in a single game. On the week, Ezold hit .545 with a .773 slugging percentage and hit safely in all five games, to extend his team-best streak to 13 in a row.
LaPaglia had a huge game of his own, as the senior left fielder went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI. He belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to completely blow the game open.
UMass Boston scored runs in six of their eight trips to the plate, including scoring four runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings.
Junior Craig Frobel took the loss for the Colonials, as he allowed nine hits and nine runs, eight earned, over 3.2 innings. Lead-off hitter Gus Constantino was the lone bright spot for Western, as he hit a grand-slam in the seventh inning to help the Colonials avoid a mercy-rule loss.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first, UMass Boston struck for four runs in the bottom of the third. Daniel Mantoni (Southbridge, Mass.) made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly and Ezold followed with an RBI double. Searles and Trevor Bouvier (Salem, N.H.) tacked on RBI singles to push the lead to 5-0.
Western would get one run back in the fourth on a Matt Greene RBI double, only to fall behind 9-1 after the bottom of the inning. LaPaglia scored the first run on a passed ball, before Ezequiel Sanchez (Manati, Puerto Rico) drove in Failla with another single. Ezold added his second RBI double in as many innings to make it 8-1, and Searles capped off the inning with another RBI single to score Ezold.
UMass Boston would add one more run in the fifth, before LaPaglia's three-run homer over the right-field fence capped off a four-run sixth inning.
Trailing 14-1 in the top of the seventh, Western Connecticut State struck for six runs on five hits to extend the game into the bottom of the inning. After a Joe Costa RBI single cut it to 14-2, Constantino blasted a homer to right field to make it 14-6 and Greene added another RBI hit to cut the deficit to 14-7.
Ezold and Adams answered back with RBI hits in the bottom of the inning to give the Beacons a 16-7 advantage. From there, Zeerip blanked the Colonials the rest of the way, to help the Beacons clinch the fourth-spot in the LEC Tournament.
Game Two: UMass Boston 9, Western Connecticut State 0
Three Beacons' pitchers combined for the team's first shutout of the spring, and UMass Boston piled on 16 more hits to earn the sweep.
Mantoni cruised through six innings to improve to 4-1, as the sophomore allowed just five hits, zero runs and struck out three. Freshman Alex Carusotto (Pittsfield, Mass.) and Cummiskey struck out three more batters and didn't allow a baserunner, over three innings of relief.
At the plate, Lopez led the Beacons by going 3-for-4 with a team-best three RBI. Mantoni, Ezold and Sal Frosceno (Derby, Conn.) each added two hits of their own, as the Beacons ended the week hitting .372 as a team over five contests.
Western ace Todd Lyons fell to 3-3, as he allowed eight hits and three earned runs over five innings.
The second contest was shaping up to be a pitcher's duel through the first three innings, before the Beacons struck for three two-out runs in the fourth inning.
After stranding four runners through the first three innings, Delvis Baez (Lawrence, Mass.) put the Beacons on the board with an RBI single to plate Daniel Bonito (Swampscott, Mass.). Lopez followed with a two-run double down the right-field line, which easily scored Bouvier and Baez.
UMass Boston struck for four more runs in the sixth inning, as they quickly struck against the Colonials bullpen.
Lopez drove in Frosceno with two outs, before a Colonials error allowed the Beacons to blow the game open. With runners at the corners and two outs, the Beacons perfectly executed a delayed double steal, with Failla scampering home. Mantoni followed with an RBI single to score Sanchez and Luke Nagle (Pembroke, Mass.) made it 7-0, as he plated Mantoni with an RBI single of his own.
UMass Boston tacked on their final two runs of the day in the eighth inning on two hits and a Western error. With the bases loaded and one out, Bouvier plated Coley Barker (Pembroke, Mass.) with a deep sacrifice fly to right field. Frosceno followed with an RBI single to score Nagle, before the Colonials got the final out of the inning.