BEVERLY, Mass. – In a matchup between North Shore Cup rivals and regionally ranked teams, the Endicott baseball team dropped a 4-2 decision to Salem State on Wednesday at North Field as Vikings starting pitcher, sophomore Sean Buckland (Lynn, Mass.), spun complete-game victory, allowing just one earned run with seven strikeouts as New England's sixth-ranked Salem State defeated the seventh-ranked Gulls.
Endicott (22-11, 10-2 CCC) got RBI hits from senior first baseman Brett Holmgren (Middleboro, Mass.), a double in the bottom of the second to give the Blue and Green a 1-0 lead, and senior catcher EJ Martinez (Brooklyn, Mass.), a single in the bottom in the ninth in trim Salem State's lead down to just two runs with no outs, but the Buckland (5-0) struck out two of the final three batters to close the game out.
The Gulls now turn their attention to Saturday's showdown with CCC and North Shore Cup opponent Gordon which will also serve as their Senior Day for eight players who have worn the Blue and Green for four seasons.
Salem State (25-12, 11-1 MASCAC) completed the home and away doubleheader sweep over Endicott after winning the April 10th meeting 12-11 with a walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth. The Vikings return to their conference schedule on Saturday with a pair of home games against Worcester State, a series that could likely lock up the top seed in the upcoming MASCAC Tournament for Salem State.
Trailing 1-0 in the top of the fifth, Salem State scored three runs, two of which were unearned, to take command of the game. The Vikings loaded the bases with no outs on Gulls starter Luke Morse (Westford, Mass.) and tied the game on an infield single to second by senior centerfielder Ethan Trowt (Beverly, Mass.) that scored Ryan Beliveau (Lynn, Mass.). With senior first baseman Matt Burgess (Kingston, Mass.) at the plate, a passed ball allowed Genaro Ciulla (Peabody, Mass.) to score to give Salem State the lead 2-1. Burgess followed with a lineout to right on a diving catch by Gulls sophomore Steve Morganelli (Milford, Mass.), but the Andrew Deloury (Andover, Mass.) was able to advance 90 feet from third to home to make it a 3-1 game.
Endicott freshman Colby Morris (Newbury, Mass.) relieved Morse (3-4) in the sixth and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just two base runners on free passes for his second straight quality relief appearance.
Salem State extended their lead to three in the top of the eighth as Beliveau walked and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch with one out. After a Ciulla infield single put Beliveau on third, Deloury doubled down the left field line to plate the Vikings final run putting Endicott a 4-1 hole.
In Endicott's final plate appearance, senior centerfielder Tad Gold (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.) singled to lead off the inning and got into scoring position on a passed ball. Martinez then singled sharply through the left side to bring home Gold and on the throw home advanced on to second base. An errant throw by the Vikings catcher trying to throw out Martinez went into centerfield to put Martinez on third with no outs. Buckland recovered, however, by striking out Morganelli, catching a hard-hit liner back to the mound off Holmgren's bat, and getting pinch-hitter Michael Cahill (Plymouth, Mass.) swinging on a curveball to end the game.