April 29, 2009
MILTON, Mass. - Freshman pitcher Mike Nich (Orange, Conn.) tossed a complete game shutout while junior catcher Joe Klein (Monroe, Conn.) hit an insurance solo homerun in the ninth to lead fifth-seeded Endicott past top-seeded and 14th-ranked Curry College, 2-0, in TCCC playoff action on Wednesday afternoon in Milton, Mass. The Colonels only lost one conference game all season, boasting a 21-1 record in league play and an overall mark of 31-6.
Endicott got on the board in the fifth inning as Roberto Zapata (Boston, Mass.) reached on an infield single, followed by a single to left field by Benjamin Petrides (Belchertown, Mass.). A sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, allowing senior Brian Andersen (Grafton, Mass.) to plate Zapata with an RBI groundout to short to give Endicott a 1-0 lead.
Curry threatened in the fifth as the first two Colonels reached on a single and off an Endicott error. A sacrifice bunt attempt by Carlos Cornejo (Lake Forest, Calif.) backfired as the Gulls were able to get the lead runner at third. Nich then got Tim Sweeney (Walpole, Mass.) to ground out into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Curry opened the seventh inning with back-to-back singles, once again putting pressure on Endicott's rookie pitcher. Nich responded by coolly striking out Ralph Renzulli (Rowley, Mass.) and then forcing another double-play, 4-6-3, to escape the frame unscathed.
Junior catcher Joe Klein put the game out of reach in the top of the ninth as he connected on a Cory Moore (Lynn, Mass.) offering and put it over the right-field fence. The homerun proved valuable as Curry once again got two on in the ninth inning, however Nich again got out of the jam with a 3-6-4 double play.
Nich allowed six hits, walked three and struck out three in the complete game shutout. Curry left seven runners stranded in the loss, just their second shutout defeat of the season.
Endicott, which improved to 19-20 overall and 2-0 in the Conference Tournament, will remain on the road on Saturday as the Gulls will travel to either Curry or Salve Regina, depending upon the outcome of the Seahawks vs. Colonels game on Friday.