LEESBURG, Fla. – Six solid innings on the mound by junior righty Davarn Nova (Buzzards Bay, Mass.) and a five-run top of the eighth inning helped the Endicott baseball team secure their second win of the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational with an 8-5 victory over Little East opponent UMass Dartmouth on Thursday afternoon.
Nova struck out six batters and allowed two earned runs via nine hits and a walk over his six innings on the bump before handing the ball over to the bullpen with the game tied 2-2 going in the final three frames. Sophomore reliever Eric Nagle (Manchester, Conn.) pitched the bottom of the seventh as he struck out the leadoff batter before walking UMass Dartmouth senior centerfielder Ryan Medeiros (Acushnet, Mass.). Medeiros swiped second base but Nagle was able to strand the runner by forcing ga fly out and a groundout to short to end the inning.
Endicott (2-4) took a 3-2 lead on a line drive double to the base of the left field wall off the bat of junior first baseman Nick De Lotto (Southbury, Conn.) that plated junior outfielder Matthew Paola (Middlebury, Conn.) who had reached on single to lead off the inning. With two outs in the inning and runners on second and third, Gulls junior catcher Josh Drew (Intervale, N.H.) hit a grounder deep into the hole in the right side of the infield that was bobbled followed by an errant throw to first base that allowed two runs to score.
Still in the top of the eight and the Blue and Green now leading 5-2, Endicott freshman Michael DeDonato (Chelmsford, Mass.), who pinch ran for Drew at first, stole second base to get into scoring position. Shortstop Cody Hall (Rutland, Mass.) drew a walk and with runners on first and second and two outs, DeDonato and Hall executed a double steal with sophomore centerfielder Cam Farnham (Andover, Mass.) at the plate. Farnham brought both teammates home with a single up the middle that bounced high over the shortstop's outreached glove in the outfield.
UMass Dartmouth threatened in both the eighth and ninth innings to try and get back in the game. In the eighth, a double off Nagle by sophomore Taylor Cacciola (West Greenwich, R.I.) and a hit batsman put the Corsairs into a position to cut into the Endicott lead. Gulls head coach Bryan Haley turned to right-hander Nick Quattro (Canton, Conn.) who delivered a 1-0 pitch that was grounded to Gulls captain Harry Oringer (Dartmouth, Mass.) at second who started a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.
In the bottom of the ninth, UMass Dartmouth got three runs back on a single swing as Medeiros hammered an offering from Quattro on a line over the centerfield wall with Alex Newton (Saco, Maine) and Jack Harrington (Barnstable, Mass.) on base to make it an 8-5 game with no outs. Quattro settled down to retire the Corsairs on a fly out to right, a groundout to third, and a strikeout looking to secure the Endicott victory.
Nagle (1-0) earned the win going 1 1/3 innings in relief. Sophomore infielder Mike Kochiss (Fairfield, Conn.) went 3-for-5 at the plate with a double and two singles while De Lotto and Farnham had two RBIs apiece. Hall recorded an RBI in the top of the fifth to produce Endicott's first run of the game and freshman Brad Rebello (Bellingham, Mass.) who went 2-for-2 with a walk, tied the game in the top of the sixth on a single to left center to score Kochiss.
Endicott holds their final day of competition in Central Florida tomorrow starting 2:00 p.m. against NESCAC foe Amherst at the Lake Myrtle Complex in Auburndale. The Gulls and Lord Jeffs will play a doubleheader. UMass Dartmouth (4-3) plays a single game with Western New England on Friday at 9:00 a.m.