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Gulls walk-off with pair of wins over Nichols

Gulls walk-off with pair of wins over Nichols

April 25, 2009

Box Score - Game One / Box Score - Game Two

BEVERLY, Mass. - The Endicott College baseball team made the final games of their The Commonwealth Coast Conference regular season schedule exciting as the Gulls defeated the Nichols College Bison 7-2 in game one of a double-header and then followed that up with an exciting 11-10 walk-off victory in extra innings for the double-header sweep. The Gulls improve to 17-20 overall and 12-10 in the TCCC while Nichols drops to 16-18 and 11-11 in conference. Endicott leapfrogs Nichols into fourth place in the TCCC and looks to host Salve Regina University in the upcoming TCCC tournament.

In game one, Endicott received a strong start from TCCC Rookie of the Week Mike Nich (Amity, Conn.) who went seven innings, scattering five hits and giving up two unearned runs while striking out four in picking up his fourth win of the season.

All of Endicott's offense came from the top of the order as Aaron Santos (Cambridge, Mass.), Andrew Betts (Bristol, Conn.), and Michael Russo (Natick, Mass.) combined to go 7-for-10 with six RBI in the top three spots of the order. Santos also scored three runs and had a pair of doubles to go with a stolen base. Betts also swiped a pair of bases in the win.

Nichols' Tom Bozek (Westfield, Mass.) suffered the setback for the Bison, dropping to 2-4 this season, by going two innings and giving up four earned runs on seven hits. Scott Leecock (Palmer, Mass.) pitched in relief of Bozek and went the final four innings, giving up five hits and three earned runs.

The Bison were only able to muster five hits off Nich as Matthew Whitman (North Plainfield, N.J.), Joshua Clark (Brunswick, Maine), Chris Nemeskal (Swampscott, Mass.), and Matt Ziemian (Palmer, Mass.) each went 1-for-3 in game one. Jarred Stuczynski (Whitinsville, Mass.) led the Bison going 1-for-2 with an RBI, run scored, a walk, and two stolen bases.

Game two saw both sides' bats come alive as the two teams combined to score 21 runs on 37 hits and saw Endicott walk away with an 11-10 victory in extra-innings. Endicott's Alex Judge (Wilton, Conn.) drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, scoring Joe Whitney (Barre, Mass.) to send the Gulls home with a crucial double-header sweep over the visiting Bison.

After three innings, the Gulls jumped out to an early 5-1 lead as five different Gulls drove in a run in the first three innings. The Bison got their run on the board in the top of the third when Chris Nemeskal drove in Josh Clark with a single up the middle.

In the top of the fourth inning, Nichols' bats finally broke through as the Bison scored five runs in the inning to give Nichols a 6-5 lead. The Bison batted around in the inning and chased Endicott starter Matt Sharon (Wallingford, Vt.) from the game after back-to-back hits drove in three runs for Nichols. Dave Weinreich (Milford, Conn.) came in for relief and was greeted by an RBI single by Clark to tie the game at 5-5. John Rivers (Dalton, Mass.) would drive in the go-ahead run scoring Clark.

Endicott went quietly in the fourth and fifth innings before Nichols erupted in the sixth inning for four more runs. Clark would strike again with an RBI single while Nemeskal would follow with an RBI double to give the Bison an 8-5 lead. Freshman Brian Millea (Wakefield, Mass.) would relieve Weinreich but could not escape the Nichols bats as the Bison scored two more on a fielder's choice and an error in the inning to give NC a 10-5 lead in going into the bottom of the sixth.

The Gulls would not go quietly however as they began to chip away at the Bison lead, plating three in their half of the sixth. Aaron Santos led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch and moved to third on a Betts double. Michael Russo stepped to the plate and drove in his two teammates, slicing into the Nichols lead, 10-7. Russo would later come around to score on a Judge fielder's choice to get the Gulls within two.

Judge would take over on the mound for the Gulls in the seventh and after avoiding trouble with a lead-off double by Cale LaCasse (Danielson, Conn.), Judge worked his way out of the inning unscathed. The Endicott offense would do their part in the seventh as Mike Barbati (Melrose, Mass.) led off the inning with a single and came around to score on a Santos double to make the score 10-9. Betts would follow with an RBI single up the middle that scored Santos and brought the Gulls all the way back to a tie game, 10-10. Michael Rafferty (Framingham, Mass.) would come into the inning and get the Bison out of any more trouble, forcing the game into bonus baseball.

Each team would have their chances in the extra frames as the Gulls loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth but came away empty-handed and the Bison had two runners on in the top of the ninth but could not push a run across.

Endicott finally broke through in the bottom of the ninth when Joe Whitney worked a lead-off walk and moved to second on a Benjamin Petrides (Belchertown, Mass.) single. Alex Judge would come to the plate and rocket a ground ball at the shortstop who could not handle the ball as it traveled into centerfield and the Gulls walked off with a thrilling 11-10 victory.

The Gulls Alex Judge helped his own cause and was able to pick up his first victory of the season by throwing two innings and giving up only one walk. Michael Russo led the Gulls attack, going 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored while Aaron Santos scored four more runs for a total of seven in the two games. Andrew Betts, Benjamin Petrides, and John Halsey (Reading, Mass.) also had three hits each for the Gulls.

Rafferty suffered his first loss of the season despite going 1.2 innings and giving up only four hits and not allowing any earned runs. Nichols lead-off man Zachary Johnson (Wakefield, R.I.) went 5-for-6 from the dish and drove in a pair of runs while Clark and Nemeskal each had three hits apiece and two RBI for the Bison.

Both teams now look ahead to the upcoming The Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament. Endicott currently sits in fourth place and looks to host Salve Regina University in a first round matchup while Nichols dropped all the way to seventh place and will have to travel to Western New England College for their first game.

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