Drury and Hans lead Falcons to non-conference victory
RINDGE, N.H. (April 10, 2014) – Two runs in the bottom of the eighth helped Fitchburg State University down the Southern Vermont College baseball team 5-3 Wednesday night in non-conference play at Franklin Pierce University's Pappas Field.
The Falcons improve to 15-9 with the win while the Mountaineers fall to 7-11 on the year.
Freshman left fielder Steven Drury Jr. (Ashburnham, Mass.) had a strong showing for the Falcons, going 2-3 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored. Junior center fielder Pierce Hans (Washington Township, N.J.) was 1-4 with two runs knocked in and a third scored.
SVC sophomore second baseman RJ Pingitore (Amsterdam, N.Y.) led the Mountaineers with a 3-4 appearance at the plate, adding an RBI, a double and two stolen bases to his line. Junior shortstop Chris Nicastro Jr. (Kenilworth, N.J.) was 2-4 with three stolen bases and a run scored, and sophomore left fielder Quinten Scott (Ashaway, R.I.) had a run batted in and another scored.
After keeping Southern Vt. off the board in the top of the first, Fitchburg State tacked up two runs in the bottom of the frame. A triple by Drury down the left field line scored junior shortstop Patrick McMahon (S. Windsor, Conn.) to make a lead-off error come back to hurt. He then scored on a ground-out to third by Hans for the early 2-0 advantage.
That score would hold until the top of the fifth when the Mountaineers cut the lead in half. Mercuri hit a one-out single to third, and Sciara scored him on a single down the left field line.
Two innings later, Southern Vt. took its first lead of the game with a pair of runs in the seventh. SVC used some small-ball to tie it up with Nicastro stealing second and then taking third on a fly-out to center; he would score when Scott laid down the squeeze bunt to make it 2-2. After Scott moved up to second on a ground-out, Pingitore knocked him in for the go-ahead run with a single to right.
The Falcons wouldn't trail long, responding with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Sophomore third baseman Derrick Frazier (Beverly, Mass.) knocked a lead-off single up the middle and would come around to score on a McMahon base hit to left, making it a 3-3 ballgame.
Fitchburg then went ahead in the bottom of the eighth on back-to-back doubles, first with Drury scoring on a Hans hit after walking to lead-off the inning. Hans then scored to add a piece of insurance on a hit by senior right fielder David Mason (Leominster, Mass.) to left center, putting the Falcons ahead by the final 5-3 margin.
Freshman pitcher Joe St. Hilaire (Chelmsford, Mass.) picked up the win from the pen for the Falcons to move to 5-2 on the year; after entering the game in the top of the eighth, he retired five of the six Mountaineers he faced, the only runner to reach being on an FSU fielding error. SVC reliever R.J. Henle (Plantation, Fla.) suffered the loss (0-3) after giving up the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth.
Both starters took no-decisions despite pitching well. SVC sophomore right-hander Chris Bradt (Albany, N.Y.) gave up three runs (one earned) on just five hits and two walks, striking out two in seven innings. Falcon freshman Jake Kelley (N. Chelmsford, Mass.) went six innings, allowing one run on six hits and two walks; he struck out 11 Mountaineers on the evening.
The Mountaineers are back in non-conference action Thursday with a 3 p.m. first pitch at home against New England College. Fitchburg turns back to Mass. State Collegiate Athletic Conference play with a home doubleheader on Saturday against Mass. Maritime Academy starting at 12 p.m.