BEVERLY, Mass. – The Endicott baseball team followed up their win over #5 Southern Maine with a doubleheader sweep of Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) opponent Eastern Nazarene on Saturday as the Gulls improved to 9-2 (2-0 CCC) this spring. Endicott trounced the Lions 16-3 in game one before needing an extra-inning solo blast by senior first baseman Brett Holmgren (Middleboro, Mass.) to catapult the Blue and Green to a game two win.
Endicott has already postponed their Sunday showdown with CCC foe Salve Regina due to poor incoming weather conditions which has been pushed back one day to Monday afternoon. The Gulls and Seahawks are currently scheduled to start their conference double dip starting at 4:00 pm at North Field.
Eastern Nazarene (5-5, 0-2 CCC), playing in their first games in 16 days since their spring break travels to Fort Myers, now anticipate a home, non-conference tilt with Little East Conference (LEC) foe UMass Boston on Tuesday, April 1st starting at 3:30 pm.
Game One: Endicott 16, Eastern Nazarene 3
Gulls senior catcher EJ Martinez (Brooklyn, N.Y.), after posting five RBIs in Friday's win over Southern Maine, added five more ribbies to his two-day total to lead Endicott's offensive outburst. Martinez did much of his damage in a nine-run top of the third in which he sent an offering over the left centerfield wall with the bases juiced for a grand slam, his first homerun of the season. Martinez added a RBI single in the fourth inning to extend Endicott's lead to 10-2 at that point.
Aside from three-RBI performances from junior second baseman Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.) and sophomore shortstop Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.), Endicott benefited from four strong innings on the mound from senior pitcher Tyler Hill (Las Vegas, Nev.). Hill (2-0) allowed just one hit to 18 batters faced but did allow two earned runs in the bottom of the second as the Lions owned a 2-0 lead early in the game.
Eastern Nazarene used a bases loaded walk by junior third baseman Jake Koch (Dayton, Nev.) and a sacrifice fly by freshman left fielder Joey Napolitano (Millerton, N.Y.) to take the early lead in the second. Senior catcher David Manning (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) added a RBI double to center in the fifth and senior Anthony Berroa (Teaneck, N.J.) finished with two hits in three at bats to account for the rest of Eastern Nazarene's offense in game one.
Gulls senior centerfielder Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.) and Paola led the Blue and Green, playing as the visiting team in both games despite being at North Field, with three runs scored. Paola and Martinez both registered stolen bases in the win as well.
Game Two: Endicott 4, Eastern Nazarene 3 (8 inn.)
Berroa took the mound in game two for the Lions and was effective through six innings on the bump, allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Eastern Nazarene tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh on a Manning RBI single to center to score Jeremy Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.), but Holmgren fired back in the top half of the first extra inning with a towering shot deep to right field to put Endicott on top.
Holmgren's first homerun of the season decided the game as Gulls senior Connor McLaughlin (Clinton, Mass.) finished off his 3 2/3 innings appearance by shutting down Eastern Nazarene 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth. McLaughlin (1-1) forced a pop out, a groundout to third, and a fly out to right to confirm Endicott's doubleheader sweep in their conference opener.
Manning opened up the scoring in the bottom of the third after his rope to left center plated Berroa to give the Lions a 1-0 lead. Endicott's next turn at the dish resulted in three runs as Martinez scored Gold from third on a groundout, sophomore designated hitter Josh Drew (Intervale, N.H.) tripled down the right field line to score Paola, and Cody Hall's (Rutland, Mass.) batted ball led to a fielder's choice RBI to plate Drew.
Eastern Nazarene cut the Gulls lead down to 3-2 on a one-out, Berroa RBI single that brought home Wager for his second run of the game in the fifth. McLaughlin got the final two outs of the inning as he forced the Lions to ground out into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Holmgren's late-game heroics helped Endicott improve to 23-6 all-time against Eastern Nazarene including 13-2 under seventh-year head coach Bryan Haley. Endicott currently sits behind Roger Williams (14-4, 6-0) in the CCC standings.